Money Is your pension safe? It may depend on what happens to your company

18:08  11 august  2017
18:08  11 august  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

Should you do a pension buyback?

  Should you do a pension buyback? It’s almost always a good ideaNow I have the opportunity to purchase that year of pension.

Latest Business Headlines. Is your pension safe ? It may depend on what happens to your company August 11, 5:25 AM ET read comments. Most Viewed. Is your pension safe ?

It may also depend on where you got the funds and what they are for. If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, what happens to your 401(k) account? Generally, Social Security benefits that have been or will be paid to the debtor are safe in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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You diligently make contributions to your company pension plan with the assumption you'll get what you're entitled to when you part with your employer.

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Is my money safe ? If your company crashes, what happens to your pension ? How much pension you eventually get is not known in advance as it will depend on how well the investments perform and annuity rates at the time of retirement.

A company pension scheme (sometimes called superannuation) is a workplace scheme set up and run by your employer. Keeping your pension safe . It ’s important to watch out for pension scams. RELATED. What happens to your pension when you die? Annuities.

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Or should I just assume my pension won’t be around, so when it is around it just happens to be a nice surprise? The problem with determining how much you can rely on your pension is it also depends on the Even if the company is still around, will it be able to afford to keep paying for the pension ?

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But that may not always be the case — depending on what type of plan you have and what happens to your company.

Currently, workers at both Sears Canada and Northstar Aerospace in Milton, Ont., are facing deep concerns about their pension prospects because of the problems plaguing their employers,

"This is not fair for us," says Naresh Ajmani, who retired from Northstar in 2015 after working for the manufacturer for 22 years, producing helicopter parts.

Ajmani recently learned from his union, Unifor, that because the Milton plant will soon be shut down due to lost business, his pension payments will likely be cut back.

"They have broken their promises," says Ajmani, who joined more than 100 Unifor members Thursday to stage a protest at the plant. "I have set up my retirement. I'm not getting what I'm supposed to get."

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The Pensions Advisory Service Limited. Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No. 2459671. Bankruptcy. What happens to your pension if you are made bankrupt may depend on

Bankruptcy protects your pension , but you might lose some income to creditors in Chapter 13. However, in most cases your pension is safe , even if it is your employer that files for bankruptcy. If your company has a 401(k) plan, it does not receive insurance coverage from the PBGC.

$6M shortfall?

Is your pension safe? It may depend on what happens to your company© CBC Is your pension safe? It may depend on what happens to your company

Unifor claims that because the plant is shutting down in September, there will be an estimated $6-million shortfall in the employee pension plan, which Northstar is refusing to top up. As a result, the union says the 250 laid-off workers and retirees will face a potential 24 per cent reduction in their pension payments.

"To the workers that are going to lose a couple hundred dollars a month, it's significant. So someone's going to have to fix this," says Unifor national president Jerry Dias.

He also took part in the protest, which included blockading the plant's doors, preventing it from operating that day. "We had to take some dramatic action in order to get their attention."

Unifor may have received some attention, but it still faces an uphill battle for better pensions.

Northstar employees don't have a defined benefit pension where employers promise a certain level of payout to retirees.

Instead, they have a target benefit pension plan where, if there's a shortfall, the employer can choose to dole out reduced payments.

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What happens to your pension if you are made bankrupt may depend on : · when you were made bankrupt; · whether you are getting your pension or · You can buy a retirement income (called an annuity) from an insurance company . The amount will depend on the annuity rates in force at the time.

When this happens , they don't have enough money Depending on how the stock and bond markets affect pension fund investments over the years, your defined benefit MSN Money: Is Your Pension Safe ? The New York Times: Private Pension Plans, Even at Big Companies , May Be Underfunded.

"We're not talking about any flagrant disregard for the collective agreement or breach of the labour relations act," says employment lawyer Muneeza Sheikh, with Levitt LLP in Toronto.

"What we have is a situation where Unifor is saying: what you're doing from a public accountability standpoint, from a moral standpoint, is extremely disrespectful and a slap in the face."

Northstar's parent company, Heligear, claims it's not responsible for any looming pension problems. The U.S. company says it made all the required payments, and that the plan was underfunded when it took over the Northstar plant in 2012.

"Any reduction or shortfall is a function of the plan management and design, which are not within Heligear's control," the company said in a statement.

Still, that's little comfort for retirees like Ajmani, who believes he will get a reduced pension. "Pension is a promise," he says.

It may be a promise, but sometimes, promises get to be broken. Sears Canada retirees also fear they may not get the pension they were promised.

Sears Canada pays 81 per cent

As part of a court-supervised restructuring process, the cash-strapped retailer is closing 54 stores and laying off 2,900 workers without severance.

Sears Canada has also requested court permission to stop topping up the underfunded retiree pension plan, though the retailer recently agreed to postpone that matter until Sept. 30.

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If you are separated or divorced, your former spouse may also have a claim on your pension , depending on the terms of your agreement, which will be paid out when you die. Quite aside from what happens to the accumulated pension pot itself, remember also that companies typically offer

But what actually happens to your pension when you retire, and how can This may make taking the lump sum more attractive to those with smaller pension pots. Beware heading for safe havens before retirement: Cutting investment risk could leave pensioners stuck for cash later on, experts warn.

Many of Sears' 16,000 retirees fear that if the company is allowed to stop making pension contributions, they will receive reduced pensions. Sears claims that may not necessarily be the case.

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Recently laid-off employees who are collecting their pension in a lump-sum payout are facing another concern.

Sears Canada is only paying them 81 per cent of their pension value at this time; the remaining 19 per cent will be paid over five years, which is perfectly legal.

However, the missing money makes Kim Throop nervous. The former floor manager spent 24 years at the Sears store in Coburg, Ont., before it closed in March. She says she has already lost an estimated $16,000 in severance and now worries she may never see the rest of her defined benefit pension.

"There is some concern there, because you don't know what's going to happen in the next five years," says Throop. "If Sears goes down, will we see that 19 per cent?"

Employment lawyer Chantel Goldsmith says if the restructuring doesn't work and Sears goes bankrupt, chances are Throop won't get the rest of her pension. Retirees would become unsecured creditors who would have to line up behind secured creditors, like banks, to try to recoup that 19 per cent.

"If the secured creditors take all the money in the pool and there's nothing left for unsecured creditors, then, unfortunately, they'd be out of luck," says Goldsmith, with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP in Toronto.

Of course, Sears may successfully restructure and Throop may eventually get her full pension.

But the situation is another reminder that sometimes there are no guarantees that the pension you are promised on paper is what you will actually wind up with in retirement.

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