Take the pension buyout, or wait for a better deal down the road?

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If you work for a company with a pension plan, don’t be surprised if you get an offer soon for a lump sum buyout – a deal where you accept a pile of cash in exchange for the promise of lifetime income when you retire. The price tag for these offers is especially attractive right […]

Why Congress needs to reform multi-employer pensions – now

Josh Gobtaum, director, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

The window is closing on our last best chance to protect the pensions of 10 million American workers and retirees. These workers are in multi-employer plans – traditional defined benefit pension plans jointly funded by groups of employers in industries like construction, trucking, mining and food retailing. Although many of the country’s 1,400 multi-employer plans […]

How much are public-sector pensions shrinking? Often, a lot

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You’d have to be living in a cave not to have heard that many states are bailing out struggling pension plans by cutting benefits. But how will that affect workers in these states? Researchers who have been sorting through the cuts say the picture isn’t pretty. Some 15 million state and local workers – about […]

The vanishing pension and its discontents

Dallas Salisbury, Employee Benefit Research Institute

If only we could revive the good old pension. You retire after 30 or 40 years at a company, get the gold watch, and the monthly checks start flowing. Many Americans still get those checks, but Corporate America has been running away from defined-benefit (DB) pensions for decades, and many experts see that as a […]

Corporate pension plans are healthier, but they’re still dying

Josh Gobtaum, director, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

This should be good news: At a time when worry about the retirement security of American workers is rising, traditional pension plans finished 2013 in their best shape last year since the financial crisis of 2008. Yet that may only be setting the table for more corporations to stop offering them. The funding deficit of […]

Retirement confidence bounces back, but only among wealthy savers

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Americans who owned stocks in 2013 are feeling better about their retirement prospects than they did just a few years ago. For everyone else, not so much. The longest-running survey of American retirement sentiment shows confidence rose in 2013, the first increase since sentiment plunged following the Great Recession of 2008-2009. But the 2014 Retirement Confidence […]

When your pension sponsor talks about “derisking,” watch out

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A growing number of employers are making plans to “de-risk” their pension plans. That’s jargon for reducing the financial risk posed to corporate balance sheets by pension plans – but if you have a defined benefit pension and you start hearing that term tossed around, pay careful attention. Less risk for employers can mean more risk […]

It’s Save for Retirement Week – but it could be so much more

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Bet you didn’t know this is National Save for Retirement Week. Unless your boss is marking the occasion by herding the staff into retirement education seminars, it’s just another one of those manufactured calendar events that tend to fly right by us. There are other national awareness weeks in October – for fire prevention, school […]

Detroit’s pension crisis: What does it mean for other retirees?

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The news from Detroit is enough to rattle anyone relying on a traditional pension: an unprecedented bankruptcy filing by a major U.S. city that opens the door to possible sharp cuts in benefits. It’s still far from clear that the courts will let Detroit slash pension benefits as part of its bankruptcy filing. But is […]

Do no harm: Protecting retirees in shaky pension plans

We’ve all heard the physician’s Hippocratic oath: “First, do no harm.” But there’s a similar, less-well-known principle in the world of pensions: First, do no harm to retirees. When pension programs are changed, it’s almost unheard of to cut benefits for retirees in their seventies, eighties or beyond, who would have trouble adjusting to abrupt […]