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Approximately 37,000 active employees currently participate in the Variable Trust Fund, having exercised their option to deposit 50% of their contributions to this all-stock fund. Participants in the Variable Fund are exposed to a higher degree of stock market risk because of possible losses from unfavorable investment returns in exchange for the possibility of greater long-run returns.

If you participate in the Variable Fund, the Department of Employee Trust Funds encourages you to periodically review and understand how the Variable Fund affects your benefits, both before and during retirement. To-do items include:

  • Taking part in a webinar on the Variable Trust Fund. We recently expanded the number of sessions on this topic through the end of the year.
  • Reviewing your most recent Wisconsin Retirement System annual Statement of Benefits, which will show how participating in the Variable is affecting your employee and employer required contributions, additional contributions (if applicable), formula benefits, and money purchase benefits.
  • Using our Variable Excess or Deficiency Update Calculator to update the information on your most recent statement. This will help you determine how much your Variable participation increases or decreases your retirement benefit.  
  • Staying current on investment performance of the WRS trust funds. Visit the Latest Investment Performance page. In addition, the Annual Returns, Rates and Adjustments lists actual performance and corresponding rates since 1986.
  • Watching our Variable Fund video.
  • Reviewing our Variable Trust Fund (ET-4030) brochure.

If you decide to cancel Variable participation, send a completed Canceling Variable Participation (ET-2313) form to ETF. See Pay Attention to Year-End Deadlines for information about cancelling with an effective date of January 1, 2023. You will have three cancellation options; and these are fully explained on the cancellation form: 

  1. Future contributions only
  2. Conditional Variable cancellation
  3. Unconditional Variable cancellation

If I cancel Variable Fund participation, is there way to avoid taking a loss due to unfavorable market conditions? Yes—you should file a “conditional” Variable cancellation. This tells ETF to take a “snapshot” of your account after interest is applied each year to see if the value of your account equals or exceeds the amount it would have been if all your money had gone to the Core Trust Fund.