Checklist; for Reviewing Your Pension Plan and Retirement Goals

Article excerpt

The prospect of retirement may seem far away or just around the corner. Whether you have been planning for some time or are just getting started, you want to be sure you will build the financial foundation to help you realize your retirement dreams. You should start by assessing your retirement goals and current investment situation. A key step is determining what benefits you have earned from the retirement plan of every employer for whom you've worked. Take the time to find out the answers to these questions by reviewing these plans' summary plan descriptions or by asking your employers' benefits offices.

Are you covered by a pension/retirement plan?

What type of plan(s) does your employer offer?

* Defined benefit:

* What is your projected retirement benefit (in today's dollars) if you retire on your desired retirement date?

* What formula is used to calculate pension payments?

* Will your pension be adjusted for the cost of living? If so, what formula is used to calculate these adjustments?

* Defined contribution:

* Does your plan provide illustrations of potential benefit levels? What is your projected benefit?

* What are the investment options?

* What is the employer contribution level?

* What payout options are available?

* Can you take a lump-sum benefit payment?

* Can you tailor the benefit payment schedule to meet retirement income needs, as they may change?

Are you required to contribute to the plan? If so, what percentage of salary or dollar amount must you contribute? …