Multiemployer pension benefit cuts: A Q&A on what you need to know

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The last-minute deal to allow retiree pension benefit cuts as part of the federal spending bill for 2015 passed by Congress last week has set off shock waves in the U.S. retirement system. Buried in the $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus” legislation signed this week by President Barack Obama was a provision that aims to head off […]

Longer life expectancies raise the bar on pensions

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Americans are living longer. That’s good news for people–but it’s creating challenges in the world of traditional defined-benefit pensions. American men are living an average of two years longer than they were in 2000 (the last time the tables were revised), and women are getting an additional 2.4 years of life, according to new mortality […]

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Lame duck Congress tries a lame move on pensions

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The mid-term election results have changed the political landscape in a way that threatens the retirement security of middle class households. But we don’t even have to wait for the new Congress to be seated in January to know just how bad things could get. This week, the lame duck Congress pulled a lame move, inserting “Solutions Not […]

The trouble with financial literacy

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Financial literacy education is a mom-and-apple-pie proposition – who can be opposed to getting smarter about money? But I’m struck often by just how much the topic rings hollow as a solution to the retirement security crisis we’re facing. This week’s Reuters column looks at two recent studies touching on this topic. The American College of Financial […]

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A landmark law at 40: How well is ERISA protecting workers’ retirements?

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Every American who has retired with economic security – or hopes to – should know these two dates in our history: August 14, 1935, and September 2, 1974. The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, and 40 years ago today President Gerald Ford signed landmark pension reform […]

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 […]