A MANAGER S GUIDE TO STRATEGIC RETIREMENT PLAN MANAGEMENT in VS .NET

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A MANAGER S GUIDE TO STRATEGIC RETIREMENT PLAN MANAGEMENT
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Funding
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The key difference between DB and DC plans, beyond the difference of benefits paid versus contributions made, is who bears the investment risk. In the case of DB plans, the employer bears the investment risk. The employer must make all contributions and investment decisions for a DB plan. (Note that a few DB plans require employees to contribute to the plan, but these types of plans are not very common in the United States since the contributions are not tax deductible.) If there is a shortfall in assets, the company is wholly responsible for making up the difference. In practice, an actuary (see boxed material) is employed to calculate the value of the benefits promised by the DB plan. This liability value is then compared with the current asset value. If there is a shortfall, company contributions will be required and the actuary determines these in compliance with IRS rules. If there is a surplus, that is, assets are greater than liabilities, no employer contribution will be due at this time.
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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance
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Since DB plans can become underfunded, that is, where assets are less than liabilities, Congress recognized the need for an insurance program to cover this contingency similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks. It set up the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to insure most DB plans. DB plans pay an annual premium into a fund that is based both on the number of participants as well as the level of funding in the plan. Plans in poor financial condition, that is, underfunded, pay a higher premium, and vice versa. The recent bankruptcies in the airline, automotive, and steel industries have put the PBGC system under tremendous strain. Currently, the PBGC itself has a deficit of over $20 billion. Serious concerns about this deficit has prompted Congress to consider raising premiums. However, the entire system itself may be in jeopardy as more and more DB plans terminate, reducing premium income and leaving the poorly funded plans all alone.
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Sample Formulas
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DB plans define the benefits paid using a formula, typically in one of three ways: 1. Formula based on compensation and service (most common). Example: Annual benefit paid will be equal to 1% of annual pay times years of service up to a maximum of 30 years. Formulas based on service only (common with hourly/union workforce). Example: Annual benefit paid will be equal to $200 per year of service up to a maximum of 30 years.
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The Basics of Retirement Plans
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ROLE OF THE ACTUARY Many managers, once they become involved with a DB plan, immediately become aware of a business professional whom they had never encountered before an actuary. Compared with other professions (over 400,000 attorneys, 300,000 CPAs), only 13,000 actuaries practice in the United States. With so few actuaries, misperceptions arise about what exactly is an actuary. This is highlighted in a funny joke about the definition of an actuary that s where they bury dead actors. All kidding aside, let s describe what an actuary is and how he or she can help you manage your retirement plan. What is an actuary In general, an actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, like those in pension programs. They evaluate the likelihood of those events, design creative ways to reduce the likelihood and decrease the impact of adverse events that actually do occur. Their work requires a combination of strong analytical skills, business knowledge, and understanding of human behavior to design and manage programs that control risk. This combination of skills which is an amalgamation of legal, management, and statistical training produces a professional with whom you should develop a close relationship to help you navigate through the complexity of running your plan. Traditionally, actuaries have tended to focus solely on DB plans helping to calculate the annual contribution requirements and annual pension expense, including the financials of the company, and so forth. However, as the marketplace has changed with the increase in DC plans, actuaries have retooled and broadened their scope of services to include all types and areas of retirement plans. Many clients now look to their actuaries for independent, professional advice on all issues surrounding their retirement plans.
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Formula based on neither service nor compensation (rare). Example: Annual benefit will be equal to $10,000.
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Since formula type number one is the most common, we will spend some more time describing the two major types of this formula. These types differ in what pay is used in the formula:
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Final average pay formula Pay used Pay during the last several years of a person s career Averaging period Typically three or five year average Example 1% of five-year average final pay times years of service
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