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Ret plans - info for employees


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A Comparison of Free Online Tools for Individuals Deciding When to Claim Social Security Benefits
"This note provides information on six publicly available online retirement planning tools that focus primarily or exclusively on the Social Security claiming decision. It explains their advantages and limitations, what types of information the tools require of the user (inputs), and what types of information the tools provide (outputs).... The six tools ... are available to the public, do not require the user to create an account with the organization, and are free to use." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Fact Sheet: What Is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and Why Should I Care?
"A retirement plan can be the largest asset in a marriage. Nonetheless, retirement plans are often forgotten or overlooked during divorce, in part because divorce is so complicated and in part because a divorce can occur years before retirement -- and who's thinking about retirement when it's 10 or 20 years down the road? If they don't have the right kind of court order, people going though divorce could neglect a significant portion of the marital assets and put themselves at risk of economic insecurity in retirement." (Pension Rights Center)
Using Multiple 'Data Points' to Determine How Much You Should Spend
"[While] the development of a reasonable spending budget is an important part of an individual's spending decision process, it is but one 'data point' of several that may be considered.... [O]ther possible data points that may also be useful in your spending decision process[:] Applying the ABC ... The ABC with recommended assumptions ... ABC run-out tabs ... ABC 5-year projection tab ... Historical record ... Your gut instinct." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
What to Consider When Investing in Target Date Retirement Funds
"Any given glide path may be too steep for some people and too shallow for others, depending on their circumstances. As an investor, you can compensate for that by choosing funds dated later or earlier than your targeted retirement date. If the 2030 fund gets too conservative too fast for your taste, for example, you could choose the 2040 fund instead." (Los Angeles Times; free registration may be required)
Three Retirement Plan Head Scratchers (PDF)
"[W]hen it comes to saving for retirement, sometimes the decisions that come after enrolling in your employer's plan can be as difficult as making that initial choice to save. How do you know you are making the right decision from a tax perspective? What about other benefits options? And what if you need money? Is your retirement plan the best place to get it? The answers to these questions are unique to you and your personal situation, but a few rules of thumb can help." (Lockton)
Getting the Facts Straight about Qualified Plan Loans
"[Is] it worth taking a loan from your retirement plan? In short, no. However, it is still important to weigh the options of taking such a loan. [This article describes] the major pros and cons of taking loans from your employer's retirement plan." (Castle Rock Investment Company)
How to Calculate the Value of Your Benefits
"It's 'open enrollment' season ... [and] a good time ... to estimate how much the benefits you choose are worth to you: Health Insurance (typically $5,000 -- $30,000) ... Retirement Plan (typically 3-6 percent of your salary in matching contributions) ... Stock Purchase Plan (typically 10 to 15 percent of market value per share purchased) ... Disability Insurance ($2,000 to $5,000 per year) ... Life Insurance ($250 to $500 per year) ... Employer Contribution to FICA (7.65 percent of salary) ... Unemployment Insurance (0.3-1.5 percent of salary) ... Your company may offer other benefits such as tuition reimbursement, pre-paid legal assistance, commuter benefits, health and wellness programs, access to group long term care insurance[.]" (Financial Finesse)
SEC Provides Free Online Financial Planning Tools
Tools at the SEC's Investor.gov web site include: 401(k) and IRA Minimum Distribution Calculator; Compound Interest Calculator and Savings Goal Calculator; Social Security Retirement Estimator; Retirement Ballpark Estimator; Mutual Fund Analyzer; 529 Expense Analyzer; and a link to a searchable database of investment advisers who have filed Form ADV. (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
How Does Student Debt Affect Early-Career Retirement Saving?
"The estimated relationship between student debt and participating in a retirement plan ... is small and statistically insignificant ... Contrary to expectations, individuals with a large loan balance who were offered a plan are more likely to accept it, though the estimated relationship is small. Some evidence indicates that bachelor's degree-holders who have student loans have lower retirement assets at age 30, though the estimates are statistically insignificant, and retirement assets levels are unrelated to the size of their student loan balances." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
[Official Guidance] Text of Final Regs: Definition of Terms Relating to Marital Status
"This document contains final regulations that reflect the holdings of Obergefell v. Hodges ..., Windsor v. United States, ..., and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 ... and that define terms in the Internal Revenue Code describing the marital status of taxpayers for federal tax purposes.... While [the regulations] will continue to provide that registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other similar relationships not denominated as marriage under state law are not recognized as married for federal tax purposes, [they are clarified to] ensure that there is a point of reference for which state law is applicable when determining whether the alternative legal relationship is recognized as marriage under state law. Accordingly, ... the terms 'spouse,' 'husband,' and 'wife' and 'husband and wife' do not include individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship not denominated as a marriage under the law of the state, possession, or territory of the United States where such relationship was entered into, regardless of domicile." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k)
"[Y]ou need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries. Although taxes shouldn't be the sole determining factor ... ignoring the impact of taxes could lead you to make an incorrect choice. In addition, if you're married, beneficiary designations may affect the size of minimum required distributions to you from your IRAs and retirement plans while you're alive." (CAPTRUST Financial Advisors)
Sizing Up Online Retirement Calculators
"[M]any of the tools offered online ask for relatively few inputs, which should be a warning sign that the results may be less accurate than those that require more comprehensive information ... At a minimum, the calculator should ask about different sources of income, expected living expenses during retirement and all forms of assets that will be available as a means of support[.]" (Financial Planning)
Evaluating an Early Retirement Offer
"What's the severance package? ... How does all of this affect your pension? ... Does the offer include health insurance? ... What other benefits are available? ... Can you afford to retire early? ... What if you can't afford to retire? Finding a new job ... What will happen if you say no?" (CAPTRUST Financial Advisors)
Eight Ways Women Can Improve Their Retirement Security
"[1] Don't be intimidated by the jargon ... [2] Increase your savings rate ... [3] Invest found money ... [4] Seek professional help ... [5] Take advantage of workplace benefits ... [6] Unique investment strategy ... [7] Don't cash out ... [8] Plan ahead for widow's benefits." (MarketWatch)
Financial Education for Today's Workforce: 2016 Survey Results (PDF)
80 pages. "Two in five respondents feel a responsibility to educate on pension and benefit options, encourage retirement savings and help participants/employees become financially literate managers of their money.... Among organizations offering financial education, the most common topics are retirement plan benefits, preretirement financial planning, investments and retirement plan distributions.... [T]he most effective methods of providing financial education were: Free personal consultation services; Voluntary classes/workshops; and Web-based/online resources and courses." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])
Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2016: Sixth Annual Update on the Retirement Preparedness of the Boomer Generation
19 pages. "There are about 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States, more than 40 million of whom are already age 65 or older.... They will retire at a rate of 10,000 per day through at least 2030, when almost 73 million Americans, comprising more than 20 percent of the U.S. population, will be age 65 or older.... 21 percent of Boomers plan to retire prior to age 65, and 59 percent at age 65 or older. This includes 26 percent who plan to retire at age 70 or later.... Only 39 percent of Boomers have tried to figure out how much they need to have saved for retirement. Of those who have, a third did not include health care costs in their calculations. Only 55 percent of Baby Boomers have money saved for retirement, down from 58 percent last year and from more than three in four in prior years." (Insured Retirement Institute [IRI])
How Women in All of Life's Stages Can Prepare for a Secure Retirement (PDF)
12 pages. "Women who reach age 65 are on average expected to live 2.3 years longer than men who reach the same age.... Women have lower account balances than men despite needing higher ones -- women who retired in 2012 are expected to spend 15% more time in retirement than men (20.5 vs. 17.9 years).... Women have a higher chance than men of being impacted financially by chronic or terminal illnesses.... What can women do to overcome these retirement challenges? Plenty, if they make smart moves at every stage of life." (BNY Mellon)
Resources to Learn More About the Saver's Credit
"The IRS' Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, also known as the Saver's Credit, is available to low- to moderate-income workers who are saving for retirement through a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, or new myRA, yet just 25 percent of American workers with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 are aware of the credit[.]" (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)
Retirement Readiness: A Work in Progress
"There's a big gap between what plan sponsors think their participants know about saving and investing -- and what participants actually know. By identifying the disconnect in participants' understanding of savings strategy, investment options and income potential, sponsors can pinpoint strategies to correct them more effectively." (BlackRock)
$1 Million Question: How Much Is Enough for Retirement?
"The advisers factored in an estimated average monthly Social Security benefit for a couple at $2,212 a month with a cost of living adjustment of 2.6 percent per year. They also assumed a rate of return on invested savings of 6.5 percent a year with inflation estimated at 3.5 percent each year. They found that a person who wants a retirement income of $50,000 a year for the rest of his or her life would need a lump sum of about $500,000. For an annual income of $75,000 the person would need about $1 million saved; and savings of $1.5 million for an annual income of $100,000 combined with Social Security." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Five Things Young Investors Can and Should Do to Save for Retirement
"[S]aving for retirement in your 20s doesn't have to be hard or expensive (promise). Here are five ways to avoid missing out on saving for retirement in your 20s [1] YOCO (translation for nonmillennials: You only compound once) ... [2] Treat yo' self (to your match) ... [3] You wanna be a millionaire (actually, you do) ... [4] Tackle the debt dilemma ... [5] The power of Roth." (Vanguard)
How Your Employer's Pension 'De-Risking' May Increase Your Pension Risk
"A de-risking transaction is intended to do what its name says: Decrease plan risk. But the intent is to decrease the employer's plan risk. The result may be that your pension benefit is at greater risk.... In the absence of a change in the law, here are some of the most important questions you should ask[.]" (Prof. Dana M. Muir, in The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
The Benefits of Making a Formal Written Plan for Retirement
"Eighty percent of those with a formal written plan have estimated how many years their assets will last into retirement, nearly double of those who don't have a formal written plan (42 percent).... [P]re-retirees and retirees who have formal written retirement plans are more likely to roll over and consolidate their assets within two years. They are also more likely to convert a portion of their assets into an annuity within two years[.]" (LIMRA)
Rule of Thumb Withdrawal Strategies Just Don't Cut It for Retirees
"[S]imply adding 4% of a retiree's accumulated savings to other retirement income payable during the year to determine a spending budget may either overstate or understate an actuarially sound spending budget. And this is only one of the problems associated with the 4% Rule or any rule of thumb that focuses on 'tapping your savings' rather than properly coordinating with other sources of retirement income to develop a reasonable spending budget." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Have You Checked Your Retirement Plan Lately?
"Have you experienced any life changes? ... Reexamine your risk tolerance ... Is your asset allocation still on track? ... Regaining your balance ... Revisit your plan rules and features ... Could you add a little more each pay period? ... A little maintenance goes a long way." (Asset Strategy Advisors)
Bad Idea: Rolling a 401(k) Into an IRA, Part III
"[M]ost of the time it does not make sense for your 401(k) plan participants to roll their 401(k) account balances into IRAs when they leave your employment.... It is difficult, and most times impossible, to find stable value or guaranteed fund investment options available in IRA accounts.... In a 401(k) plan, not only is the employer a fiduciary, but the investment advisor associated with the plan is likely to be one as well.... the average return in an IRA account from 2000 to 2012 was 2.2%. The average return in a 401(k) plan account for the same period was 3.1%." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Pension Lump Sum Payouts and Your Retirement Security (PDF)
"A guide for consumers considering their retirement payout options from a private-sector plan.... Questions to ask before accepting a lump sum: ... [1] Will you be at risk of running out of money? ... [2] Will you have the necessary investment skills? ... [3] Is your money protected? ... [4] Is a combination of payouts possible? ... Regardless of the payout you choose, detect and correct errors in your pension or lump sum calculation ... If you choose a lump-sum payout: [1] Plan for tax consequences ... [2] Make your money last ... [3] Protect your money from fraud and scams." (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
More Advisers Will Discuss Social Security Strategies with Clients Next Year
"Next year a quarter of financial advisers said they will increase the amount of time they dedicate to discussing Social Security with clients, compared with how much time they spent on the subject this year ... A year ago, only 8% of advisers planned to bump up client time dedicated to Social Security discussions ... About 20% of advisers said next year they will spend more time talking with clients about cash-flow planning and 19% said income-tax planning would become a larger focus of discussions[.]" (InvestmentNews)
How Do I Know When to Retire?
"Here are three reasons you might want to retire sooner rather than later ... [1] Finances: Because retirement may not be as expensive as you think.... [2] Fulfillment: Because you may want more time to pursue fulfilling activities outside of work.... [3] Relationships: Because you may want to devote more time to relationships outside of work." (Pension Consultants, Inc.)
Retirement Planning for Couples with an Age Gap
"Choose the age at which you each wish to retire.... Hold off Social Security to get more each month.... Keep more money working in your retirement accounts.... Ensure adequate healthcare coverage.... Plan for the unexpected and the inevitable.... Start planning sooner rather than later." (Hopkinton Crier)
The Oldest Baby Boomers Turn 70
"The oldest baby boomers will reach age 70 in 2016. Turning 70 has several important implications for your retirement finances.... [1] Sign up for Social Security.... [2] Remember required minimum distributions.... [3] Avoid two distributions in the same year.... [4] Consolidate your accounts.... [5] Watch out for savings restrictions.... [6] Gather important documents." (U.S. News & World Report)
The Checklist You Need to Manage Multiple Retirement Accounts
"Never assume that 401(k) accounts you have left behind in former employers' retirement plans will be managed the same way in perpetuity after you switch jobs, and, like a money-market account, will simply appreciate over time.... Has your former employer engaged in any mergers or acquisitions during the past year? ... Aside from mergers or acquisitions, has your former plan undergone any other major changes? ... Have you received the plan's most recent annual report?" (MarketWatch)
Give Yourself the Gift of Retirement Savings by Starting a myRA
"This holiday season, the U.S. Department of the Treasury encourages Americans to give themselves the gift of saving for the future with myRA (my Retirement Account) and to resolve to regularly save for retirement in 2016. Launched nationally in November, myRA is a new simple, safe and affordable savings option designed for Americans without access to a retirement savings plan at work. People can get information about myRA and sign up for an account at myRA.gov." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
Ten Retirement Resolutions for 2016
"Plan for a long retirement.... Avoid emotional attachments to investments ... Prepare for the unexpected.... Find a fiduciary.... Pay off debt.... Open a MyRA.... Create a my Social Security account.... Avoid gaps in health insurance.... Coordinate with your spouse.... Consider pushing back your retirement date." (U.S. News & World Report)
Can You Afford to Retire Early?
"What happens if you don't die when the tables say you should but end up living another decade...or two? What happens if shortly after you retire the stock market decides to start over at its 2008 levels? What happens if you get hit by a bus the day after you retire, and you require round-the-clock nursing for the foreseeable future? ... Here are some things you can do to calamity-proof your plan for early retirement[.]" (Certified Financial Planner [CFP] Board of Standards, Inc.)
How to Formulate a Retirement Spending Plan
"This research brief offers a starting point for older workers wondering how they should think about withdrawing from savings in order to finance a secure retirement.... Step 1: Establish your baseline ... Step 2: Evaluate your planning horizon ... Step 3: Think about other income ... Step 4: Make adjustments." [The article is accompanied by an online retirement withdrawal calculator.] (American Institute for Economic Research [AIER])
[Guidance Overview] U.S. Treasury Launches myRA (My Retirement Account) to Help Bridge America's Retirement Savings Gap
"People can get information about myRA and sign up for an account at myRA.gov.... myRA is now available nationwide with multiple ways for people to start saving: [1] Paycheck. Set up automatic direct deposit contributions to myRA through an employer. [2] NEW: Checking or savings account. Now savers can fund a myRA account directly by setting up recurring or one-time contributions from a checking or savings account. [3] NEW: Federal tax refund. At tax time, direct all or a portion of a federal tax refund to myRA." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
[Official Guidance] Fact Sheet: Key Facts About myRA (PDF)
"Many people want to save, but haven't found an easy way to get started. According to a 2015 Federal Reserve Report, 31 percent of non-retired people said they have no retirement savings or pension whatsoever. The U.S. Department of the Treasury developed myRA to make it easy for people to start saving for the future.... myRA is a Roth IRA that could be a good fit for people who: [1] Don't have access to a retirement savings plan at work or lack other options to save; [2] Want to save but haven't found an easy way to get started; [3] Earn an annual income below $131,000 if single, or $193,000, if married filing jointly." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
How to Save for Retirement While Paying Off Student Loans
"Between the realities of today's retirement saving environment and the relatively young age of millennials, a fiduciary needs to be able to explain, in a convincing manner, why student debt cannot impede retirement saving. Indeed, the first question often asked by this generation is 'Why save now?' " (Fiduciary News)
What's Really Scaring U.S. This Halloween: Financial Wellness
"[T]here's a 55% chance you fear not having enough money in retirement (versus 37% for losing your job and 25% for gaining weight).... [O]nly 19% of employees who took a financial wellness assessment last year reported being on track for retirement. The unprepared fall into three categories: the unknowns, the underfunded, and the under-confident." (Financial Finesse)
Six Steps to Bring Financial Wellness to the Workplace
47 presentation slides. "[1] Understand the financial landscape. [2] Define financial wellness for your organization. [3] Lean on best practices. [4] Explore established and emerging solutions. [5] Overcome challenges. [6] Build a business case." (Benz Communications and State Street Global Advisors, via American Benefits Council)
[Opinion] Supersize Your 401(k) Accumulation With One Strategy
"Not only are 401(k)s dangerous vehicles for most people -- they consistently lose money in them -- they are loaded with middlemen fees. Most people never calculate how much these fees eat into their retirement plans.... [T]he more you automate, the lesser the chance of you getting in the way of consistent saving. Robo-plans are here to stay. You just have to pull the switch to make them work." (John Wasik in Forbes)
Seven Tips Present-Day Retirees Wished They Had Known When They Were 24
"Start early, not late ... Cut spending and keep your eye on the retirement ball ... Invest wisely (i.e. for the long term) ... Warren Buffet says pick a stock and stick with it ... If you don't have time, hire a professional ... Keep a lot of cash for when the market goes down ... Don't panic and stick it out." (Fiduciary News)
Haven't Saved Enough? Move to Harlingen, Texas
" 'I'll go out on a limb and venture that moving to Harlingen, Texas, which boasts the lowest cost of living in the country, is not a realistic option for most future retirees,' IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. 'But many Boomers will have to make some tough decisions. The good news ... is that there are some things Boomers can do to boost their savings and reduce expenses. Then by constructing a strategy -- using a combination of retirement income sources -- they can have a plan in place to meet their retirement needs.' " [14-page study, entitled Baby Boomers and Retirement Planning Strategy.] (Insured Retirement Institute [IRI])
Finances and Benefits Continue to Bewilder American Workers
"Four in 10 Americans admit knowing little or nothing about their employee benefits ... Millennials, Gen Xers, parents and low-income Americans find it difficult to manage finances, and many say issues with personal finance distract them while they're at work....[E]mployees indicate they are struggling to know whether they are on track to retire comfortably or how much money they should be spending on their employer-provided benefits." [Survey findings available online as 22 presentation slides from MassMutual.] (PLANSPONSOR)
Beefing Up Advice Options for Workplace Retirement Plans
"[Managed account advisers] can answer questions that go beyond asset allocation -- everything from Social Security claiming strategies to advice about drawing down funds. [They] can even do some hand-holding when markets take a nosedive.... Eighty-six percent of plan sponsors pick TDFs as their default option for participants who do not make investment elections on their own ... [M]anaged account services make up just 3 percent of default plan sponsor choices." (The Fiscal Times)
Retirement Planning in an Uncertain World, Part 2
"The Actuarial Approach anticipates that a retiree's assets and liabilities will be re-measured at least once a year to adjust the retiree's budget for differences between actual and assumed experience, for differences between actual and assumed spending and for changes in assumptions. This re-measurement process is essential for keeping the retiree on track.... Depending on the proportion of a retiree's spending budget that is derived from accumulated savings invested in risky assets, differences between actual and assumed investment returns can have a significant effect on the retiree's spending budget." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Ways to Deal with Market Losses in Retirement, Part Two: What to Do After the Market Recovers
"[1] Allocate appropriately.... [2] Maintain conservative withdrawal assumptions ... [3] Implement a bucket strategy for your retirement income needs." (Pension Consultants, Inc.)
Six Reasons You Were Automatically Enrolled in a Target-Date Fund
"[1] A diversified fund.... [2] Ease of use.... [3] Limiting liability.... [4] Age appropriateness.... [5] Investment performance and costs.... [6] Difficulty switching funds." (U.S. News & World Report)
Here's How Wide the Retirement Gap Is Between Men and Women
"Financial Finesse, which provides financial education programs to more than 600 organizations, examined data on median income, retirement savings, life expectancy, 401(k) salary deferral rates, and projected health-care costs for a woman and a man, each 45 years old. The goal: Figure out how much each needed in order to retire at age 65 and live on 70 percent of his or her pre-retirement income. The gap that emerged between the sexes: 26 percent. A man's retirement shortfall was more than $212,000. A woman's? More than $268,000." (Bloomberg)
What I Learned About My 401(k): A Twenty-Something's Guide
"[F]ind out how much of your income your company will match.... Set up automatic increases.... Don't be afraid of stocks.... Know what it's costing you.... Think before you quit." (CNNMoney.com)
EBSA Fact Sheet: Retirement Initiatives Announced at White House Conference on Aging (PDF)
"The regulation that the Department will propose by the end of 2015 will clarify how states can move forward with state-sponsored retirement savings programs, including with respect to requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage, in ways that are consistent with federal laws governing employee benefit plans.... As part of a broader initiative designed to increase awareness and availability of lifetime income options in defined contribution plans, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration ... published a Field Assistance Bulletin clarifying the duty of an employer in selecting and monitoring an annuity provider for benefit distributions from 401(k) and other defined contribution plans under its Annuity Selection Safe Harbor regulation." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
Can Technology Solve the Mystery of 401(k) Fees?
"[An] Israeli startup named FeeX says it has a solution: an automated service that calculates the fees in your old 401(k)s and recommends whether a rollover (and which kind) makes sense. Users create an account and connect it to their old and new 401(k) plans, then FeeX calculates how much, if anything, a rollover would save. Sometimes, FeeX data show, your money should stay sitting in an old 401(k). Large employers, in particular, often offer excellent, low-cost plans." (Bloomberg)
Financial Planning for LGBT Couples After U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges (PDF)
12 pages; includes checklist. "As a result of these new rulings, employee benefits and financial planning strategies once available only to opposite-sex married couples are now available to same-sex married couples. This paper highlights several of the changes that have taken place, including changes to Social Security eligibility, and details how same-sex couples may wish to incorporate them into their financial planning." (Prudential)
What to Do When Your Employer Stops Matching 401(k) Contributions
"Even if your employer has stopped matching, your best course of action is to continue your monthly contributions. In fact, you would be wise to make up the difference lost in your employer matching! You can continue these larger contributions to your 401(k) or you might set up another account outside of your 401(k) ... A ROTH can make sense if you believe your tax rate is likely to be higher in retirement than it is now." (Certified Financial Planner [CFP] Board of Standards, Inc.)
How to Develop an Investment Plan for Retirement
"Figure out how your investments will impact the lifestyle you desire.... Come up with a withdrawal strategy.... Consider the tax consequences.... Consider having a professional help you draft the plan.... Accept that your plan will change." (U.S. News & World Report)
Five Key Risks to Your Retirement Nest Egg
"[U]nless your action plan includes strategies to address Five Key Risks, that nest egg you're working so hard to build up may not be enough.... Inflation... Overconcentration... Volatility... Medical Expenses... Longevity." (Pension Consultants, Inc.)
A Job Hunter's Guide to Getting the Best Retirement Plan
"To get the answers you need to make an informed decision, here are four questions that financial advisers suggest you ask about a company's retirement program, ranked in order of importance. Is there a retirement plan at all? ... How much does the company kick in? ... How long do I need to wait? ... What are the fees like?" (Bloomberg)
Advisors Urged to Help Clients Rethink Retirement Savings
"Jan Scott Gundersen, managing director of advisory services at TIAA-CREF, noted that many investors are actively seeking out information on how to prepare for retirement ... He argues that advisors can help their clients think through their retirement needs by moving away from the focus on a lump sum savings total, and instead presenting their retirement picture in terms of how much income their savings would generate. Then he counsels advisors to talk to their clients about their goals for retirement, and to explain how spending patterns can change throughout those years." (Financial Planning)
Eight Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Pension Lump Sum Distribution Offer
"What benefit options are available? ... How was the lump sum calculated? ... What is the relative value of the lump sum versus the monthly annuity? ... What are potential positive and negative ramifications of accepting the lump sum? ... What are the tax implications of accepting a lump sum? ... What is the role of the [PBGC] and what level of protection does PBGC provide on each benefit option? ... What are the instructions for either accepting or rejecting the lump sum offer? ... Who can be contacted for more information or assistance?" (Forbes)

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