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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow. Older Americans Month 2014.From the Pension Rights Center:

May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the contributions older Americans have made to society — and to focus attention on the many services available to older Americans as part of the Older Americans Act.

The services that the Pension Rights Center is most proud of are those provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging's Pension Counseling and Information Program. The agency offers free legal assistance to people who need help in obtaining the retirement benefits they have earned. The Pension Rights Center provides training and technical assistance to the program's regional pension counseling projects. Since it was launched in 1993, the program has helped retirees and their families obtain more than $190 million in retirement benefits.

Throughout the month, the Pension Rights Center will highlight successful cases handled by the counseling projects.

  • You will read about Vicki, who was shocked when she was told that she wasn't eligible for the pension her husband had told her would be there for her after his death.
  • You'll also read about Bill, who was told that his 15 years of work had earned him only a one-time $500 lump sum, despite the fact that he knew he was entitled to a pension.
  • You'll also read stories about many others who will now receive their pensions as a result of the work of the counseling projects.
  • Finally, you can watch a video about the pension counseling projects that feature just a few of the real people whose lives were forever changed by the Pension Counseling and Information Program.

The Pension Counseling and Information Program provides free legal assistance to individuals in 30 states. To find out if you can be helped by a counseling project, visit http://www.pensionrights.org/find-help.

The best time to start thinking about and saving for retirement is always right now.

While that's true for everyone, recently there's been a steady flow of stories about twenty and thirty-somethings to get them ready for life after work.

That's because the estimates for how much a 20-year-old needs to save go as high as $7 million.

For some, the enormity of the task has paralyzed them into inaction, while others view themselves as highly disciplined money managers - a trait discussed in a recent report by Time.

There are many in the financial planning community who advise starting a savings plan with at least 10 percent of your yearly income. But for a generation with competing financial concerns like rent, car payments, and student loans, it's too easy not to save now for a need that's decades away.

More...

Generic newspaperIn the recently published article "Thought Secure, Pooled Pensions Teeter and Fall," New York Times reporter Mary Williams Walsh gets candid commentary from PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum on the crisis facing the multiemployer pension system.

Gotbaum was quoted saying, "If Congress allows the PBGC to get the money and the authority it needs to do its job, then these plans can be preserved," he added. "If not, the PBGC will run out of money, too, and multiemployer pensioners will get virtually nothing. This is not something that can wait a few years. If people kick the can down the road, they'll find it went off a cliff."

Read the full article and find out more about multiemployer pension plans.

While we'd hope that you're using every day of every week to plan for your retirement, this week, April 7–11, 2014, has been designated as National Retirement Planning Week.

Organized by the National Retirement Planning Coalition — a group of prominent consumer advocacy and financial services organizations that are leading the charge to help Americans plan for retirement — this week represents a national effort to help consumers focus on their financial needs in retirement.

PBGC plays a role in this effort by protecting the retirement incomes of more than 40 million American workers in more than 26,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans.

For informational resources, visit the National Retirement Planning Coalition's "Retire on Your Terms" webpage.

National Employee Benefits Day. April 2nd. http://www.ifebp.org

Created in 2004 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), National Employee Benefits Day is nationally recognized on April 2.

According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, almost nine in ten people don't think they'll have enough saved when they get to retirement. Study after study provides data pointing to the same conclusion: A crisis is coming. Are you prepared for it?

This year, the focus of National Employee Benefits Day is to increase awareness of the retirement crisis and to help plan sponsors motivate participants to actively engage in their financial wellness.

PBGC is always on the quest for finding new ways to make retirement security a hopeful reality for most Americans. Just yesterday, we announced a proposal that makes it easier for participants in 401(k) plans to get higher returns and get lifetime income — by moving their funds into traditional pensions.

To help make financial wellness more urgent for plan participants, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has created a number of resources that provide simple tools to get them thinking about their future.

Get started with IFEBP's helpful handouts that explain key terms for: Retirement Plans [PDF], Investments [PDF] and Credit [PDF].

Content in this blog entry was obtained from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans website.

Did you recently receive an Annual Funding Notice? Wondering what it means?

Annual Funding Notices keep you (pension plan participants) informed about the financial status of your pension plan.

Now, you're probably wondering why you received the letter. The answer is simple. You received the letter because employers are required to send an Annual Funding Notice each year to everyone covered by their pension plan.

The notice provides you with information about:

  • How well your pension plan is funded
  • The value of your pension plan's assets and liabilities
  • How your pension plan's assets are invested
  • The legal limits on how much PBGC can pay if your pension plan ends

The bottom line is there is no need to panic. The notice does not mean that your pension plan is ending or that PBGC is taking over payment of your benefit. While PBGC insures your pension, the pension plan remains under the sponsorship of your employer. PBGC does not have any specific information about your benefit.

For questions about your funding notice, pension plan, or individual benefit, please contact your pension plan administrator, not PBGC. PBGC only has information about pension plans that have ended. You can find contact information for the pension plan administrator in the annual funding notice or through the employer sponsoring the plan, typically via the human resources office.

Additional information is available on our Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Pension Plans page.