When 'Safer' Pensions Aren't So Safe
Business Week (10/21/02) p.152; McNamee, Mike

Traditional pension plans have regained some of the appeal they lost during the boom market, but they are not without flaws. The average pension fund has lost 12 percent in the third year of down markets, and many companies must soon make up the shortfalls in their pension plans. Some companies may not have the cash to do so, but defined-benefit plans are run under stricter standards than 401(k) plans, and they are watched more closely by the federal government, which provides some guarantees. However, pension plans are poor when it comes to disclosure and often give out-of-date information. Employees looking for data can look to the Summary Annual Report, and then get a copy of the full annual report from the company or the Labor Department. The latter shows the company's calculations of plan obligations. Those nearing retirement who think their company is in bad shape can request their pension benefits as a lump sum.


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