Getting Financially Prepared for Retirement

May 30, 2019

By JB Brayfindley 
Contributor to Instant Connection 
“Where’s all the money go?” asked Bob Fairbrook, a financial planner at Ernst & Young, LLP at a pre-retirement seminar for members of the California-Nevada Conference. “It is not a rhetorical question – you have to know,” he told his audience, explaining that for retirement planning it is important that an individual know their net worth and cash flow.  
Ernst & Young is a CPA firm contracted by Wespath Benefits & Investments (formerly Pensions and Health Benefits), a general agency of The United Methodist Church, to do financial planning.  
“If you don’t know, this can be your first question to ask when you call our Financial Planning Center,” Fairbrook added. He said their financial planners “are free and a phone call away” for Wespath-eligible employees. 
Fairbrook was one of nine speakers at the California-Nevada Annual Conference Pre-Retirement Planning Seminar, held May 29-30 at Christ the King Retreat Center in Sacramento. The event was sponsored by the conference Board of Pensions as a resource for clergy and their spouses interested in exploring retirement options. 
Topics included retiree health insurance, clergy tax preparation, estate planning, Social Security, and financial wellness.  
“Nobody wants to go through probate,” said attorney Dennis Pedersen, speaking about estate planning. “A simple Living Trust will best serve single people or couples who want to avoid probate.”  
“Make sure you fill out the paperwork,” emphasized Wanda Gonzalez from the Social Security office in West Sacramento, who talked about penalties and delays involved in late paperwork for people turning 65. She noted that the Social Security office can field questions on Medicare, too. 
Paul Extrum-Fernandez, chief benefits officer for the Board of Pensions, welcomed participants and later gave a presentation on retiree health insurance. Attendees also heard from Susan Peters, executive director for the California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation, and Marsha Bryan, legacy adviser for the Conference Claimants’ Endowment Board. Nancy Daley reported on the Retired Clergy Association, and Wespath’s Manuel Vargas flew in from Chicago to explain UMC Retirement options, including pension and personal investment and protection plans. 
For more information on future pre-retirement retreats, contact Paul Extrum-Fernandez at or 916-913-1049. 
For more information about the Endowment Board, contact Marsha Bryan at 
Visit for more information.  
Contact Wespath at 1-800-851-2201 for retirement election options; 1-800 360-2539 to reach an EY financial planner; or go to to schedule an appointment. 
Wespath also offers online educational seminars.