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Old 10-14-2007, 12:14 PM   #21
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When I started working for megacorp, the benefits hardly made it on my radar screen. I was young, healthy, just married and was only interested in what was I going to get paid on pay day. I got a little more tuned into the program when DW had DD. Hey, this benefits things is ok.

Fast forward 25+ years... Always thought, and was lead to believe, that retirement healthcare and a pension were just part of the long-term program. Of course I never bothered to check on whether it was "guaranteed" in writing. One day a little noticed memo came out written in legalize that mentioned something about retirement healthcare coverage. It emphasized the still great things the retirees would get in medical coverage, but buried in the wording was something that most people missed: after three more years, megacorp would no longer contribute MORE than they were contributing at that time in the future. I learned what it all meant from a co-worker in the grocery store one day. He was retiring and learn the facts. No big deal, I was still many years from hanging it up with megacorp. Wrong.

I certainly understand the need for holding their future costs down, and frankly I'd rather have something rather than nothing. But I do question their spin on the whole thing. Why not just tell it clearly and to the point. "People, I know we've been carrying the cost of all this, but to avoid going out of business, we need to make some changes that will affect you when you retire. Listen up, and start saving a little more to cover what we will no longer be providing you." Instead it was passed along in one little cryptic memo without any mano-to-mano exchange. Sad.

Can't you see yourself in the nursing home saying, " Darn! Wish I'd spent more time at the office instead of wasting time with family and friends."
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #22
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Yup the corporate spinmasters don't want the heads of their loyal employees to be focusing on anything but work.

For the fun of it...Keith
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:17 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by bssc View Post
A pension is considered part of your "comprehensive" compensation package. So are benefits. They are deferred compensation. Which would you choose, a package that pays $55K with 20K pension at 60 years of age or a 60K job with no pension.
I prefer to not need to count on an employer sponsored pension at all. I'm more of a self sufficient type. I'd rather go find the job where my skills are going to fetch the highest pay rate possible (presumably higher than the pension job), and preferably not union since creativity and ability are usually trumped by seniority, and invest the difference between the jobs by myself.
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:48 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by tightasadrum View Post
buried in the wording was something that most people missed: after three more years, megacorp would no longer contribute MORE than they were contributing at that time in the future.
The Megacorp I retired from did the same thing. The subsidy level to retiree medical coverage was fixed a number of years ago and all increases in premiums have been born by the retirees ever since. In my case, I didn't retire until 58 yo so I have only 7 yrs until Medicare kicked in and the subsidy still represents a significant discount to what the premium would be otherwise. But, for younger folks, the fixed subsidy is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage as premiums continue to rise until eventually it will become like no subsidy at all.

When Megacorp announced the change, it happened quietly. People near retirement were grandfathered to the old plan, so no complaints from them. Younger folks seemed disinterested. When I brought it up in lunchtime discussions, few seemed to care or understand what the change meant.

Since then, Megacorp has announced that new hires are not eligible for retiree medical coverage at all. HR/Staffing reports that recruiting was not negatively impacted by this.

My own feelings are that:

1. Pensions (including government jobs) should be completely portable and move with the employee from job to job (such as 401K plans with immediately vesting employer contributions and SS).

2. Health insurance (including government jobs) should not be tied to employment.

It's sad to hear about so many folks absolutely miserable in their jobs but locked in golden handcuffs because of pensions and health care. How much more productive could our economy be if folks could work where they were interested in working without worrying that they're leaving benefits behind?

It's sad to hear about so many folks being screwed (or thinking they're being screwed) by employers over long term commitments involving pensions and health insurance coverage.

"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
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