FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
REGARDING THE VARIABLE FUND
What is the Variable Fund?
The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) consists of a Core Fund and a
Variable Fund. If you elect to participate in the Variable Fund, 50% of all WRS
employee and employer required contributions and additional contributions made
after your election will be deposited in the Variable Fund. The Variable Fund is
invested in stocks only, while the total stock investment of the Core Fund is a
diversified fund with investments in stocks, bonds and more. Participants who
elect to participate in the Variable Fund are exposed to a higher degree of
investment risk. Variable Fund investment returns have a more direct effect on
your participant account at the end of each calendar year, while the impact of
Core Fund returns is smoothed over five years.
How do I know if I am in the Variable Fund?
If you are a non-annuitant (not retired), you can look on your annual “Statement
of Benefits” to confirm whether your retirement contributions go the Variable
Fund and the Core Fund or just to the Core Fund. If you are an annuitant
(retired), you can check your Notice of Final Retirement Annuity Calculation
(ET-4820) to learn whether you have participated in the Variable Fund and the
balance of your account. Also, if you received an Annuity Correction Notice
(ET-4902), you can see whether any portion of your retirement annuity comes
from the Variable Fund as well as any adjustment that was made to your annuity
Is participation in the Variable Fund right for me?
Participation in the Variable Fund is a personal decision. Factors you may want
to consider are: your individual circumstances, how many years you have until
retirement, other personal investments you have, and your comfort level with a
higher degree of investment risk. In the late 1990s and in 2003, the stock
markets experienced very strong returns. However, during the period 2000 to
2002, the stock market performed poorly and in 2008 and 2009 the stock market was
very volatile. For