PENSIONS: WHAT YOU WERE PROMISED MAY NOT BE DELIVERED

#pensions #retirement #RetirementSavings
Retired Teamsters are sweating.
For those covered by the Central States Pension Fund, a multiemployer pension fund, the outlook is grim.
Central States is paying out $3.46 for every dollar it’s taking in, according to Mary Sanchez, columnist for The Kansas City Star. Her column appeared in a February 2016 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
To avert a dissolution of the fund, Central States applied to the Treasury Department, the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which ensures pensions against bankruptcy, and the Department of Labor for permission to cut pension payments to beneficiaries, Sanchez writes.
If the plan goes through, many beneficiaries would face cuts of up to 60 percent in the payment they had spent their lives working for, believing it was guaranteed, Sanchez writes. Until 2014, it wasn’t legal to do that. But that year, the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act was attached at the last minute to a must-pass omnibus spending bill, according to Sanchez.
On its face, it’s not fair to those retirees. It is not their fault that their pension fund is losing its economic viability.
But it’s not as if this was a surprise. We’ve been warned for years that because there are more retirees than workers to support them, a pension crisis was looming.
The Great Recession exacerbated the problem because many of the workers have lost their jobs. In the case of the Teamsters, union membership has declined. There are fewer jobs, and more of the jobs that still exist are being done by non-union labor.
In fact, many employers are not including pension benefits as part of the employment package.
If you are still working, chances are very good that you are on your own to fund your retirement.
What to do?
First, especially if you are young, dedicate a portion of what you earn toward your retirement. Put that amount from each paycheck into a fund and, with the help of a trusted adviser, invest it properly. Don’t fret the gyrations of the stock market. Time usually heals such wounds, and the market, over time, has proved to increase a person’s wealth considerably.
Another solution is to find one of the many alternative ways to earn money outside of your job, and see whether it is right for you. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. If you like what you see, and do it properly over time, you may not have to worry about your retirement.
If you are currently retired, or near retirement, such Plan B options may help you live a secure retirement.
As Sanchez points out, the solution to the pension debacle will be costly. Even the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is in danger, she writes.
Though making the pensioners pay the price may be unfair, it may be unavoidable.
Even if you were promised a good, secure pension, be it from the public or private sector, don’t presume those promises will be kept forever. The option of working longer may not be available. It’s best to take such matters into your own hands. Only you can assure a comfortable, secure retirement.
Peter

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