It’s really never too early – or too late – to do retirement planning.

On the one hand, the younger you are, the more you benefit from a longer period of time to accumulate assets and invest them, as well as think about how best to spend them once you finally retire. Even if you make some mistakes in the process or become preoccupied with other matters for a year or two, time will generally be your friend.

If, on the other hand, you’ll soon be retiring or have perhaps retired already, you’ll want to use the time and resources you have wisely. Still, with a few adjustments here and there, you may well be able to make your retirement years more enjoyable.

Whatever your circumstances, be sure to consult professionals with expertise in areas such as:

  • investments
  • taxes
  • budgeting and cash management
  • various types of insurance
  • estate planning 
  • medical, social, and other services geared toward older persons

With this in mind, Sigma Chi Foundation offers the following list of basic points to consider:

  • Determine how you’d like to spend your retirement years.
  • Try to get a good sense of what your desired lifestyle will cost. 
  • Save as much as you reasonably can and invest appropriately. 
  • Maximize the financial resources you can draw upon in retirement. 

 Don’t forget to check out number 5 at the end of the list!

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1.  Determine how you’d like to spend your retirement years. Although many people travel, devote more attention to family and friends, increase their volunteer involvement, or concentrate on hobbies and leisure activities, you should feel free to settle on your own mix of passions and pastimes. Just remember that retirement can have several phases as you age, so allow for both the development of new interests, as well as the possible need to accommodate eventual changes in health and mobility.

2.  Try to get a good sense of what your desired lifestyle will cost. In large measure, this will be a function not only of what you want to do, but also where you live – both the part of the country (or the world) in which you choose to settle and the nature of the four walls you’ll be calling home. Recognize too that you won’t necessarily live in the same place throughout retirement. Moreover, continue to budget for things that are elements of your life currently such as personal and health care expenses (Medicare won’t cover all of them!), food, clothing, transportation, emergencies, and our seemingly constant companion: inflation.

3.  Save as much as you reasonably can and invest appropriately. True, particularly if you have in mind a modest lifestyle in retirement, it’s possible to “over-save.” Yet people often underestimate – sometimes significantly – what their desired lifestyle will cost. Others may be quite realistic about what they will need but have difficulty putting enough aside over the years or fail to manage responsibly whatever wealth they have been able to amass. Whatever your situation, building your nest egg should be a high priority.

4.  To the extent possible, maximize the financial resources you can draw upon in retirement. A number of options exist, among them:

Defined-benefit pensions – These are traditional pensions and even though fewer and fewer workers have this perk, it is quite a valuable one, as your employer covers the full cost and what you receive will usually be very reliable. Payments are fully taxable as ordinary income.

Defined-contribution plans – These are sponsored by employers and generally take the form of so-called qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans, or some types of IRAs, such as SEP and SIMPLE IRAs. These plans feature limits on how much can go in each year and are typically funded with some combination of contributions made by your employer and pre-tax portions of your salary or wages. Account balances grow tax-free, but distributions are fully taxable as ordinary income.

Traditional IRAs – Depending on your level of income, traditional IRAs can be funded with your own pre-tax money or, less commonly, after-tax money. Traditional IRAs can also receive money “rolled over” on a tax-free basis from employer sponsored plans, such as 401(k) plans. Account balances grow tax-free. When distributions from a traditional IRA are taken, they will be taxable as ordinary income in proportion to the amount of pre-tax money you contributed or rolled over.

Roth IRAs – These, too, are funded with your own money, specifically after-tax dollars. This means that both earnings and distributions come out tax-free. Also, whatever remains in the account grows tax-free. Note: Some employers offer Roth 401(k) plans, although these are relatively rare.

Tax-deferred annuities – As the name suggests, after-tax money of your own that you invest in these products grows tax-free. Any increase in value beyond the amount you invested is taxable as ordinary income when distributed.

Individually owned savings and investment accounts, certificates of deposit, etc. – These are funded with after-tax dollars, plus whatever you earn is taxable. Some of these investments produce capital gains, which are generally taxed more favorably than interest and other sorts of ordinary income.

Employment – For some people, “retirement” means continuing to work a bit longer, albeit on a part-time basis. Similarly, working full time for an extra year or two can make additional assets available for use in connection with one or more of the options above.

Social Security benefits – Despite concerns about the long-run health of the social security system and the size of benefits one can count on, this extremely common form of retirement cash flow definitely needs to be taken into account.

Non-financial assets – Things that save you money can be just as valuable as a stream of payments. Examples would include good health, smart purchasing, and having loved ones nearby and available to help when needed.

Regardless of the combination of options you assemble and draw upon, be sure to seek competent professional guidance, as the tax rules can be complex and subject to change and the investment challenges considerable. For instance, decisions about things such as when to begin drawing Social Security payments or whether to roll retirement plan assets into an IRA will require careful planning.

5.  Don’t overlook ways to support Sigma Chi Foundation that result in retirement cash flow. Especially if you are precluded from making additional contributions to your IRA or qualified retirement plan, a charitable life income plan can be an attractive supplement to existing arrangements. Here are some of your choices:   

  • A charitable gift annuity makes favorably-taxed payments to you (or to you and your spouse) for life, plus you receive an immediate income tax charitable deduction, providing tax savings if you itemize. If you’re still working, you can defer the start of the payments, whereas if you are retired, you’ll likely want the payments to begin immediately.
  • A charitable remainder trust is similar to a gift annuity in some respects, since both can provide income for life, but offers greater flexibility. This can be very appealing if you don’t need additional income now but would like to secure a source of payments in retirement, and also provides an immediate income tax charitable deduction.
  • You can deed a personal residence – including a vacation home – to Sigma Chi Foundation subject to a retained life estate. This arrangement enables you (or you and your spouse) to continue living in your home or using your property as long as you wish. The older you are, the larger the immediate income tax charitable deduction you receive.
  • If you are age 70½ or older, you can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), also known as a charitable IRA rollover, to Sigma Chi Foundation directly from your traditional or Roth IRA of up to $100,000 per year, and the gift will not be counted in your income. Once you are 72 or older a QCD will satisfy your annual minimum required distribution and permit a tax-free gift of up to $100,000 to Sigma Chi Foundation. Separately, drawing on assets in an IRA or a qualified retirement plan to make current gifts to Sigma Chi Foundation can sometimes make sense for anyone over age 59½, although careful planning is required. 

Finally, because retirement planning vehicles such as defined-contribution plans, tax-deferred annuities, and many IRAs contain income that has never been taxed, you’ll want to devote attention to your beneficiary designations. Previously untaxed amounts left to family members and other individuals will be taxed when received by them but are not subject to tax when received by Sigma Chi Foundation. Likewise, tax savings can be combined with providing for heirs when certain retirement plan assets are used for a gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust at the end of your life.

Now that we’ve given you plenty to think about, please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you and your advisors!

Donors-Scholars Initiative

Each year, your generous donations make it possible for the Sigma Chi Foundation to grant numerous academic scholarships and awards to our deserving undergraduate and graduate brothers. Providing scholarships and academic awards furthers the Foundation’s goal to promote academic excellence. We proudly award brothers who show outstanding leadership, academic motivation and commitment to their chapters and campuses. The Sigma Chi Foundation will provide $505,000 in academic scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students over the 2018-19 academic year. This year, your gifts impacted individuals from 169 different Sigma Chi chapters. This includes an 12th-consecutive annual increase of $25,000 or more in awards.

The Sigma Chi Foundation’s Donor-Scholar Initiative provides a naming opportunity to interested alumni who wish to directly support the Foundation’s expanding scholarship program. Donors contributing to this effort at an endowment level (a one-time gift of $25,000) will have an annual academic scholarship named for themselves, or an honoree, for a minimum of 30 years. Donors are also encouraged to establish a mentor relationship with the recipient(s).

learning continuum

Our overarching goal is to positively impact every undergraduate brother every year with values-based leadership training and support.  Sigma Chi is focused on the relevant issues confronting our brothers on college campuses today, better educating these young men on alcohol misuse, drug abuse, hazing, sexual misconduct, suicide, depression and much more through an integrated presentation of our values.

By providing our members with world-class leadership initiatives, through the support of major gifts to the Foundation, Sigma Chi is helping young men develop into character-based leaders who are committed to the betterment of their chapters, campus and community.

The curriculum leads brothers to reflect upon leadership within themselves and the actions they take in everyday life, and think about how that impacts their communities and others. These modules allow our in-person programming to be more targeted and effective.

Click here to learn more about Sigma Chi’s leadership initiatives supported by the Sigma Chi Foundation.

planned giving

“I wanted to reflect that my career arc was fundamentally improved because of Sigma Chi. And I wanted to be able to leave a legacy beyond my own life that would provide that opportunity to others. ... What Sigma Chi and the Foundation do is help build good men. Our nation needs that, and I thought there was no better way to support that than through a planned gift to the Foundation so the next generation can have the benefit of Sigma Chi and learn and grow as young men.”

John Pasquantino UNLV 1984
White House Deputy Associate Director, Office of Management and Budget

Leave A Legacy

A planned gift to the Sigma Chi Foundation enables a brother to define their legacy and directly impact the lives of future Sigma Chis and our Fraternity.

Why are planned gifts so important? Our ‘One Voice’ strategic plan envisions a $100 million cash reserve that will expand world-class leadership programming and academic scholarships. While we are making great progress, planned gifts will be vital to our ultimate success.

By including Sigma Chi Foundation in your estate plan, you will help us achieve our goal and, at the same time, enjoy practical advantages for your estate and heirs.

Here are ways you can leave a legacy:

gifts by bequest

A bequest to Sigma Chi Foundation can be made for a specific amount, a percentage of your estate, or all or a portion of what is left after you have provided for your family. With a bequest, you retain control of and use of your assets during your lifetime and can potentially save on income taxes, capital gains and estate taxes.

life insurance gifts

Life insurance policies are powerful philanthropic tools often allowing a donor to make a much larger donation than they ever thought possible. Donors can name Sigma Chi Foundation as their beneficiary or transfer poilcy ownership to the Foundation and then make tax deductible gifts to pay the premiums. Sigma Chi Foundation receives the proceeds of the policy after your lifetime.

life income gifts

Your gift can be structured to provide you income for life. Sigma Chi Foundation will make a fixed payment to you for life with the remainder benefiting the Fraternity. Such arrangements are particularly appealing because donors can often reduce taxes and increase their spendable income. You benefit now and Sigma Chi benefits later.

gifts of retirement assets

Designating Sigma Chi Foundation as a beneficiary of all or a specified percentage of your 401(k) or other retirement plan assets can save your estate both income and estate taxes. Additionally, if you are age 70.5 or older, you can roll over up to $100,000 a year from your IRA as a charitable gift and count it towards your required minimum distribution.

bell chapter challenge

As an undergrad, your home chapter was your Sigma Chi world. It was where you forged your leadership skills, formed lifelong bonds of friendship and shaped what kind of man you would become. Please consider engaging with your Sigma Chi Foundation to continue that rich legacy at your chapter.

make your chapter a bell chapter

Sigma Chi has made a difference in the lives of over 300,000 brothers and these brothers want to give back. More importantly they want to give back to where they lived Sigma Chi, their own chapter. The Bell Chapter Challenge provides an excellent opportunity to make this happen and provides your chapter with enhanced benefits from the Foundation.

Your unrestricted, and tax-deductible, gift to the Sigma Chi Foundation will support the key leadership and scholarship programs provided by Sigma Chi for your chapter. These cutting-edge, valuesbased opportunities help change the lives of undergraduates at your chapter, bringing them to their full potential in college and life.

Our chapters need strong, values-based leaders to grow stronger. Engage with your Sigma Chi Foundation today and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders!

benefits provided to bell chapters

  • Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop
    Bell Chapters can send up to 5 additional attendees to Workshop for free.
    Gold level Bell Chapters will receive an additional $1,000 travel stipend for Workshop.
  • Horizons Leadership Training Program
    Bell Chapters will receive up to 2 designated slots for qualified undergraduates
  • Academic Scholarships
    Bell Chapters will receive up to 3 designated $1,000 academic scholarships for qualified undergraduates.
  • Education and Leadership Stipend
    Gold Level Bell Chapters will receive a $3,000 educational stipend to cover the costs of educational programming for the chapter.
  • Crossroads Program
    Bell Chapters will receive the Crossroads program at no cost.
LEVELS BLUE GOLD
Amount $10,000 per year
$250,000 Endow*
$20,000 per year
$500,000 Endow*
Chapter Benefits
  • 3 Additional free registration slots at KTLW (8 Total)
  • $250 KTLW Travel Stipend
  • 1 Designated Horizons Slot
  • 2 Designated $1,000 Academic Scholarships that will recognize lead donor
  • Crossroads retreat at no cost to Chapter
  • Donor plaque for chapter house
  • 1 Exclusive Bell Chapter Dinner invite at KTLW
  • 5 Additional free registration slots at KTLW (10 Total)
  • $1,000 KTLW Travel Stipend
  • 2 Designated Horizons Slots
  • 3 Designated $1,000 Academic Scholarships that will recognize lead donor
  • Crossroads retreat at no cost to Chapter
  • $3,000 Stipend for Journey Chapter Retreat
  • Donor plaque for chapter house
  • 1 Exclusive Bell Chapter Dinner invite at KTLW
  • Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop
    Bell Chapters can send up to 5 additional attendees to Workshop for free.
    Gold level Bell Chapters will receive an additional $1,000 travel stipend for Workshop.
  • Horizons Leadership Training Program
    Bell Chapters will receive up to 2 designated slots for qualified undergraduates
  • Academic Scholarships
    Bell Chapters will receive up to 3 designated $1,000 academic scholarships for qualified undergraduates.
  • Education and Leadership Stipend
    Gold Level Bell Chapters will receive a $3,000 educational stipend to cover the costs of educational programming for the chapter.
  • Crossroads Program
    Bell Chapters will receive the Crossroads program at no cost.
Blue  
Amount
  • $10,000 per year
  • $250,000 Endow*
Chapter
Benefits
  • 3 Additional free registration slots at KTLW (8 total)
  • $250 KTLW Travel Stipend
  • 1 Designated Horizons Slot
  • 2 Designated $1,000 Academic Scholarships that will recognize lead donor
  • Crossroads retreat at no cost to Chapter
  • Donor plaque for chapter house
  • 1 Exclusive Bell Chapter Dinner invite at KTLW
Gold  
Amount
  • $20,000 per year
  • $500,000 Endow*
Chapter
Benefits
  • 5 Additional free registration slots at KTLW (10 total)
  • $1000 KTLW Travel Stipend
  • 2 Designated Horizons Slot
  • 3 Designated $1,000 Academic Scholarships that will recognize lead donor
  • Crossroads retreat at no cost to Chapter
  • $3,000 Stipend for Journey Chapter Retreat
  • Donor plaque for chapter house
  • 1 Exclusive Bell Chapter Dinner invite at KTLW

*Based on accumulated cash in your chapter’s Bell Fund.

For more information contact Dakota Chavez, Associate Director of Development, at (847) 425-4408.

Did you know?

The Sigma Chi Foundation is eligible for all company matched gifts made to 501 (c) (3) foundations. Please check with your employer to see if you can double the size of your gift!

Bell Chapter List for 2019-2020

other ways to give

memorial gifts

You may wish to direct memorial gifts to the Sigma Chi Foundation to honor the memory of a deceased brother. Unrestricted gifts will be applied to the area of greatest need to support educational and leadership development opportunities for undergraduate members. Gifts may also be directed to a specific chapter or program fund. The Sigma Chi Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), charitable, educational organization and gifts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. Following is suggested language that may be used in an obituary to direct gifts to the Sigma Chi Foundation on behalf of a brother who enters the Chapter Eternal.

Contributions may be made to the Sigma Chi Foundation, 1714 Hinman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201.

matching gifts

The Sigma Chi Foundation is eligible for all company matched gifts made to 501 (c) (3) foundations. Please check with your employer to see if you can double the size of your gift!

distinguished visitors program

The Sigma Chi Foundation’s Distinguished Visitors program has provided alumni with an opportunity to reconnect to their Sigma Chi roots and impact undergraduate brothers since its inception in the 1980s. This year, 24 brothers attended the Huntsman Horizons Leadership Summit in Snowbird, Utah or the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop in Bowling Green, Ohio. During their visits, these men, who are among Sigma Chi’s most accomplished brothers, shared their values, their wisdom and their perspective on leadership with undergraduate brothers.

regional alumni receptions

Over the course of the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, the Sigma Chi Foundation Board of Governors and staff made a targeted effort to connect with alumni in United States metropolitan areas with special reception events. Hosted by Foundation board members and donors, these events provided an opportunity to deliver updates from the General Fraternity and to discuss Sigma Chi’s forward direction. The receptions will expand to new regional locations over the present 2019 to 2020 fiscal year. For more information on these events or to receive a reminder when the Sigma Chi Foundation visits your area, e-mail the Foundation at foundation@sigmachi.org.

volunteering

Have some time on your hands and would like to contribute in other ways? Then consider the Fraternity’s volunteer programs. Help out on the international level in fraternity governance, on leadership programs such as the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop, or on one of the committees that keeps the organization running.

amazon smile

Did you know that you can contribute to Sigma Chi while making an online purchase through Amazon? Visit smile.amazon.com and select the Sigma Chi Foundation as your philanthropy of choice. A small percentage of each purchase made through Amazon Smile will support the leadership mission of Sigma Chi.