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ADDvantage magazine
USPTA launches retirement program
Participating vendors to make contributions to individual accounts based on pro shop sales
November 2013 --

Planning for retirement is something that far too many Americans overlook today. Eighty-five percent of Americans retire broke. Why? They fail to understand that every financial decision is a spending decision. You either spend it all now or defer spending until a later date.

While overlooked, retirement planning is perhaps one of the most important elements of a successful financial plan. Today’s retirees will spend one-third of their lifetime in retirement, and ensuring that they don’t outlive their income is a very real concern. This essential component is often missed in the planning process.

Inflation is another factor that impacts retirement planning. At a mere 3 percent annual growth rate, the cost of living doubles every 24 years. As many retirees will live 18-25 years in retirement, ensuring their income indexes for inflation can be the difference between living the lifestyle they are comfortable with and having to make difficult choices late in life.

With this in mind, USPTA sought to secure a relationship with an organization that could help USPTA-certified members prepare for their retirement, as well as identify and partner with key strategic vendors who would help provide a unique funding opportunity for professionals who own or manage a club or resort pro shop. These key relationships were presented when a new retirement benefits program for USPTA-certified Professionals was announced at the USPTA World Conference amid much fanfare and excitement.

High Street Securities, a FINRA registered broker/dealer, was tasked with developing a program that mirrored, in part, the retirement program available to PGA members. Building upon that premise, High Street sought to expand the opportunities available to USPTA members by providing a number of retirement plan options, each customizable to the unique needs of the USPTA tennis-teaching Professional.

This is a concerted effort to bring a benefits program to USPTA members that provides options, knowing that each member’s financial situation is unique, as are their individual goals and dreams for the future. Rather than a "one size fits all" approach, the USPTA retirement program provides you with a menu of benefit options, each bringing their own unique opportunity for growth, principal protection and income. The benefit options include Retirement Gold+, along with IRA, Roth, 401(k) and more.

The USPTA benefits program will also provide a broad array of insurance options, including life insurance, annuities, long-term care and disability income. Helping ensure an income should a professional die prematurely, or a pool of money should a professional suffer a prolonged illness or injury, are important aspects of planning that will be an integral part of the benefits program available to the USPTA membership.

The USPTA flagship program, Retirement Gold+, will feature a vendor-supported retirement plan, with select vendors providing concessions to the USPTA for the benefit of participating member pros who sell their products through their pro shops. At this time, only those pros who own a club or resort pro shop, or have fiscal or managerial responsibility for the shop are eligible for this feature of the plan. With a 5 percent concession on racquets and accessories, along with a 2 1/2 percent concession on balls, this can mean thousands of dollars being made available to USPTA participating members to be contributed to their personal retirement plans over the course of a teaching career.

For example, if a professional spends $1,000 a month on hard goods with our endorsed products to resell to students and club members, he/she receives a $50 retirement plan contribution each month, or $600 a year. Factor in string, tennis balls, ball hoppers and other accessories and that number can easily reach $1,000 a year or more. Professionals may also contribute to their own retirement plans, and depending on the type of plan offered, employers may also make contributions.

Under this arrangement, vendors who elect to participate will regularly pay a concession (royalty) to the USPTA based upon the sales of each participating professional for approved product lines. These monies will be placed in an omnibus holding account with a third-party custodian for the benefit of the participating members. Each vendor will provide a detailed accounting of the monies to be credited to each participating member’s individual account, based on the sales during the period.

Once the accounting is reconciled, the monies in the omnibus account will be allocated to each member’s individual account. We anticipate this reconciliation and distribution will take place on a monthly basis. Each participating member will receive a regular statement outlining the dollars being credited to his or her individual retirement account, along with the performance of previously invested dollars in the account.

High Street has aligned itself with GoldLeaf Partners, a third-party administrator, to provide accounting and administrative services for specific portions of this benefits program. The services of a TPA are invaluable in helping us ensure that qualified plan provisions (such as a 401(k) option) are followed and that proper accounting and crediting of member accounts are done accurately in a timely manner.

At the member level, providing good customer support is essential for plan selection, implementation and ongoing guidance and support. Paloma Financial is uniquely suited for this task, having Charles Wadlington, a USPTA Professional, on staff. Paloma President Steve Sandberg and his staff are well-suited to work with the USPTA membership, helping match program options with the individual goals, needs and risk tolerance of each participant.

High Street launched a Web-based platform for the USPTA benefits program that will serve as a resource to educate the membership on available plan offerings, as well as contact and enrollment information. This interactive site will be an excellent tool to acquaint the members with current and new programs, as well as provide general financial education and information to help them make informed decisions as they navigate "real life." This site will be continually updated with new content to keep the USPTA Professional aware of updates, changes and enhancements to the USPTA benefits program. To access the site, log into Contact information for High Street and Paloma Financial can be found on the USPTA retirement website.