Here's what made headlines this week in pension news:
The New York Post publishes, "Biz gets pensions break."
"Going to work for the government has always come with an ironclad promise: Your pension benefits will be there when you retire," The Sacramento Bee.
There are a number of websites and online tools to help with retirement planning. In particular, retirement calculators are one of the most useful tools in helping future retirees figure out how much to save for retirement. Although this tool, in its many variations, can be extremely helpful, very few actually provide detailed instructions on how best to use them. Fortunately, CBSNEWS.COM features Steve Vernon's tips on using retirement calculators:
- Tip #1: What rate of return do you expect on your retirement savings?
- Tip #2: When do you expect to retire?
- Tip #3: How long will you live?
- Tip #4: How much retirement income do you need?
- Tip #5: Should you include Social Security benefits?
Read the CBSNEWS.COM full article:http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505146_162-57494187/5-tips-for-using-retirement-calculators/.
One big job for PBGC is to make sure that companies with pension plans finance those plans and PBGC's safety net. The best outcome is always for a company to keep its own pension plans. But when it can't, we also fight in court to recover the money that the company owes for its pensions.
A recent case involved the Daytona Beach, Fla. News-Journal, a newspaper in receivership – meaning that a court ordered the sale of the paper. The business owed PBGC $15 million for pension benefits that the newspaper owed its employees but that PBGC is now paying.
But in court, another creditor made a claim for an amount greater than the value of the entire business, based on its former ownership of the company. A Florida court gave that claim priority – leaving PBGC and others out in the cold.
A PBGC staff attorney researched Florida law and found that the court had made an error. With that information PBGC successfully appealed the ruling. Florida law says that claims arising from debt get priority over claims arising from ownership. The appeal kept PBGC's claim alive and may yet enable PBGC to collect significant funds from the newspaper.
"The decision supports the general rule that debt comes before equity," said Chief Counsel Izzy Goldowitz, "so it's an important precedent."
Read the appeals court's full decision. [PDF]
In and around the hard-hit city of Detroit, PBGC is protecting the retirement of people making a difference. The agency has stepped in to protect the retirement income of the nearly 1,600 employees of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
While the pension plan is ending, the not-for-profit United Way for Southeastern Michigan is not. So, workers there can continue the non-profit's mission to improve communities and individual lives with the confidence that their pensions are safe.
The pension plan had a shortfall of about $23 million, which PBGC will make up from its insurance funds. Retirees will get their full benefit, up to the limits set by Congress ($54,000 a year for a 65-year-old).
If you're a member of the pension plan you will get a letter from us soon with more information. In the meantime, see the United Way for Southeastern Michigan plan page for more information.