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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.

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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.

Ladies enjoying wine and each others company.

Every March we celebrate the profound impact women continue to have on American and world history. While Women's History Month is usually the designated time of year to robustly commemorate the contributions women have made to society, we also think it's a good time to take a look at the state of women's retirement security. After all, life after retirement is very important to "women's history."

First, let's be clear, the retirement picture is dismal for both men and women. But compared to men, women's retirement security is often less than adequate.

The United States Department of Labor reports married women tend to outlive their spouses by two years once they reach age 65 — that's two whole years of additional savings needed to cover the cost of living expenses that some do not factor in. Women also tend to take a more conservative approach when it comes to saving for retirement. Simply put, women do not invest in high-risk stocks because of the volatility of the stock market.

Another factor contributing to the bleak retirement outlook is women often delay saving for retirement. The Department of Labor also reports only 45 percent of the 62 million salaried women working in the United States contribute to a retirement plan.

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40th anniversary logo

PBGC was just getting started when Vietnam was winding down, President Nixon resigned, the NFL granted a franchise to Seattle, and Americans preferred avocado green kitchen appliances over anything that color on four wheels.

When we started, we churned out plans and memos and reports from typewriters and could smoke on the job, and pensions still seemed to be almost as solidly American as basketball, jazz, and poker.

In the distance, however, the sunrise of change was already hinting at dusk.

Events and crises, economic disruptions and volatility triggered a shift in how pensions were viewed — morphing from promises and pledges that were "solid" to being cast as liabilities on balance sheets. During 40 years our creativity and resourcefulness have been challenged, keyed on what tools we can use to protect Americans.

As we look at our 40 years to see where we came from and how our mission has been steadfast in changing dynamics, here is what part of our world was like when PBGC — as well as 21 of our current employees — was born.

The nation had never seen anything like us: an agency dedicated to saving pensions and protecting those about to lose pensions.

We were then, and we still are.

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