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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition


May 15, 2000

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Retiree Groups Pushing for 'Status Quo' Legislation for Employee Benefits in Mergers
Excerpt: "Retiree groups from General Electric, IBM, Bell Atlantic and three other corporations are uniting to protect retirees from benefit reductions in the event companies merge or are taken over, the executive director of the Association of US West Retirees told local members Thursday afternoon." (Associated Press)

How to Monitor Your 401(k)
Excerpt: "Monitoring a 401(k) plan is a lot like swinging a golf club. The harder you try, the worse the results usually are ... you need a smooth follow-through. These five tips will produce that--and help you meet your goals." (Morningstar)

Can Investments in Emerging Markets Help to Solve the Aging Problem?
Prefunding of pension commitments in OECD economies is increasingly seen as a central strategy to cope with the aging of their populations. This paper argues that investments in emerging markets can help at the margin but are unable to solve the demographic problem. (Robert Holzmann, The World Bank)

ERISA Industry Committee Writes Lawmakers About Creditors' Rights Provision in Bankruptcy Reform Bil
Excerpt: "The ERISA Industry Committee ... strongly urges you to oppose proposals that would allow creditor's hands to reach into an individual's retirement savings during bankruptcy proceedings. In particular, we urge you to oppose a proposal that has been made as part of the conference discussions concerning 'The Bankruptcy Reform Act' (H.R.833) to cap the amount of an individual's retirement savings that can be protected in bankruptcy." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Using the Web to Evaluate Your Retirement Plan
Excerpt: "Your plan is not succeeding! Quicken's Retirement Planner didn't let me down gently when it informed me my current investment plan, even combined with other retirement income such as Social Security, wouldn't fund the annual income I said I would need when I retire." (SF Gate)

Conseco's Hilbert Ends Long Career of Pay Excess
Excerpt: "Conseco Inc.'s Stephen Hilbert is living proof of the adage that bad news comes in threes. His numbing severance of more than $72 million follows on the heels of gigantic send-off packages for Coca-Cola Co.'s Douglas Ivester and Mattel Inc.'s Jill Barad. While any of the three would make a fine nominee for overpaid failure of the year, Hilbert puts Ivester and Barad to shame when it comes to his long-term record of strip-mining the corporate treasury." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Warren (Michigan) Mayor Tries to Halt Firefighter Perks
Excerpt: "... just what is the definition of 'fair and equitable' when it comes to pay, promotions, working conditions and retirement benefits that appear to be lavish and extravagant[?]" (Detroit News)

City of Milwaukee Pension Board Is the Leader in 1999 Travel Expenses
Excerpt: "The meetings may be tedious, the issues mind-numbingly complex and every major decision a tango through a political and/or legal minefield, but records show members of the city's pension board have one nice perk. Travel." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Qualified Plan Document Amendment Deadline Pushed Back to December 31, 2001
At a May 12 American Bar Association meeting, Paul Shultz of the IRS announced that the deadline for amending individually drafted pension plans will be extended until December 2001. He also said that a revenue procedure detailing the extension will be released in about a month. (Source: Tax Analysts) (BenefisLink)

Focus on Women: The Importance of Your 401(k)
Excerpt: "There are a number of compelling reasons why women should be especially diligent about saving in a 401(k) or other tax-deferred retirement plans, even if they have other demands on their money." (401Kafe.com)

A Texas County that Retired the Social Security System 20 Years Ago
Excerpt: "Millions of Americans say they are worried about whether Social Security will still be there for them when they retire, but it's a nonissue for a number of government workers in Galveston County on Texas' Gulf Coast. They stopped paying Social Security taxes two decades ago and started investing their money in the private sector." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Domestic Partner Benefits Availability Continues To Increase
Excerpt: "Domestic partner benefits occupy an increasingly prominent position in public and private debate. Recent developments in several states and among employers concerning these benefits reflect the continuing effort to define them and broaden their availability." (Thompson Publishing Group)


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