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View Poll Results: Do you have a pension?
Government Pension 166 29.23%
Corporate Pension 195 34.33%
No pension, just SS & savings 207 36.44%
Voters: 568. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-12-2021, 02:23 PM   #41
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What's interesting to me is how many of the respondents have a "small" pension (i.e. much less than their living expenses and a small fraction of their final salary). I'm in this boat as well with a corporate pension that pays around 22% of my final salary. I suspect only gov't and military retirees receive what could be regarded as a "full" pension anymore.
I am a federal FERS retiree, so I get a deposit in my checking account on the first of every month. That deposit is in the mid three figures ($516 after my BCBS Medicare supplement is deducted, $7xx gross) so I call it my "mini-pension". Like all FERS pensions it's not COLA'd but does has the infamous "diet COLA". Although it's very very welcome, it's much smaller than what federal retirees on the older CSRS system get. But fair is fair, and they don't get SS like I do. When you consider that, I suppose it's six of one half a dozen of the other. I sure appreciate having SS, which I started getting at age 70.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:27 PM   #42
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I'm surprised by the poll results - 60% have pensions (I'm in the other 40%). I expected that number to be a lot lower.
Poll would change if taken in 10 years, plus there are a decent number of members who were gov't employees.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:37 PM   #43
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Your poll is missing an option for Union pensions. I have not one, but two of those.
They do differ greatly from a corporate pension or government pension because any number of employers can pay into the same fund. On my small pension I worked for two different aerospace manufacturers in the Seattle area.
The much larger pension is with the Operating Engineers.
Dozens of different employers have paid into that over the last 30 years.

When I was doing taxes earlier this year in the AARP Tax Aide program, I was surprised at the number of union pensions I saw. Some guys (it was mainly guys in the trades) had multiple pensions. One would be from the National Union and a smaller one would be from the Local Union for the same trade. Some guys were doing really well with those 2 pensions + SS.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:38 PM   #44
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We are blessed. One Federal CSRS pension. One VA disability pension. Two SS pensions. Total=$170,000/yr. All are cola'd. We received an email today from a federal retiree newsletter predicting a 3% increase for 2022.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:39 PM   #45
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No pension. I've sometimes felt that there should be parallel forums for folks w/pensions and those without. When you have no pension, you only get one chance to get it right. The other important thing is that most Americans with government pensions and some with corporate & union pensions, is that they usually get subsidized and guaranteed health insurance along with their pension. Those of us with no pension in the USA often had to deal with the ACA and the high premiums in the years before Medicare begins, as well as occasional nail-biting when there have been attempts to end the ACA. I'm thankful that the ACA began its existence when I wanted to ER.

I'm always amazed when I talk with government employees, at how many are completely clueless about the fact that pensions have largely ceased to exist in the private sector. And don't get me started and say "well why didn't you get a government job?". I had been working for a megacorp for over 10 years when I went into work one morning and found a memo stating that the pension plan and retiree healthcare were ending immediately, except for those employees who were already vested (25+ years IIRC). I got some piddling "cash value" for my 10+ years which I rolled over to my IRA. Folks who were within a year or two of being vested were really screwed.

I know of one retired GS-15 federal employee whose CSRS COLA'd pension began in the low 6 figures, and this person was genuinely worried about being able to live on that!

As for those federal employees with less insanely generous FERS pensions, that COLA'd pension is probably still far better than 98% of other Americans' retirement incomes, but they also will get Social Security, so they should be sitting pretty.

The lack of a pension is one of the reasons I'm waiting until age 70 to start collecting Social Security. I want to maximize the monthly amount.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:47 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by disneysteve View Post
I'm surprised by the poll results - 60% have pensions (I'm in the other 40%). I expected that number to be a lot lower.
There have been several polls showing this over the years. It’s one of the factors that influences how people answer posts here, though we have no way of knowing which is which. Risk means different things to SIRE vs FIRE households…
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:48 PM   #47
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2 small Corporate pensions $1200 per month. I need two more years at the current company to be vested in pension plan (~$500 per month). All are non COLAd and I am hoping they will be around when I am eligible to realize the benefits. Im currently 42 years old.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:49 PM   #48
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I have two pensions.... But they are so small they hardly count.

One was frozen in 2000, isn't cola'd, and pays out $135/mo.
The other was frozen in 2007, isn't cola'd, and pays out $335/mo.

Hardly life changing or something to count on to survive.. but they pay the utility bills.

DH has no pension. He is collecting SS. I've got several years before I'll collect SS.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:49 PM   #49
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We both have pensions from our jobs, me at a financial services company, and my DH at a utility company.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:50 PM   #50
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No pension. I've sometimes felt that there should be parallel forums for folks w/pensions and those without...
I think you put the dividing line in the wrong place. Early retirees with "mini-pensions" have most of the same concerns as those without. All the lessons about AA, SWR, SORR and all the other lovely investing acronyms we toss around here are equally relevant to these folks. The little bit of stable income certainly helps, but establishing, growing and spending from their nest eggs is a key component of their retirements too. Only those fully supported by pension income seem to be in a different category where these lessons don't really apply.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:54 PM   #51
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Yes. 2 modest pensions. Both have some COLA. Combined, at retirement, they totaled ~45% of final year's regular compensation. I'll also have SS in the future.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:02 PM   #52
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State pension.... Well not yet... get my 1st check in Jan.... SS and a 401K equal to about 6 years retirement salary
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:04 PM   #53
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I can opt for a cola on my larger pension, but they just pull money out of the front end to pay you in the back end. That's really bad math in my opinion, in case I don't survive to the back end LOL.
We are just planning on it having a dwindling effect on our overall costs as time goes on. It's one of the reasons we're delaying taking SS until 70 for me and probably 66 for DW. We will use some of our investments to bridge that gap.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:05 PM   #54
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:07 PM   #55
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I have a state pension but it represents less than 1% of my annual earnings post-retirement. So I answered the question "yes" but hardly.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:08 PM   #56
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For those who envy the CSRS pension, keep in mind that it is taxed at ordinary income rates, unlike investment withdrawals and capital gains. Also, one doesn't get SS except in certain situations; unlike FERS, the pension contribution was 7% of salary in lieu of FICA.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:11 PM   #57
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I think you put the dividing line in the wrong place. Early retirees with "mini-pensions" have most of the same concerns as those without. All the lessons about AA, SWR, SORR and all the other lovely investing acronyms we toss around here are equally relevant to these folks. The little bit of stable income certainly helps, but establishing, growing and spending from their nest eggs is a key component of their retirements too. Only those fully supported by pension income seem to be in a different category where these lessons don't really apply.
I look at it this way, open social security website puts a value of our two SS accounts at around a million dollars.
Using that same logic my pension is worth maybe a million and a half. We still have significant investments of our own to manage.
The pensions and SS may pay the bills, but our investments will provide for LTC, and fun!
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:14 PM   #58
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For those who envy the CSRS pension, keep in mind that it is taxed at ordinary income rates, unlike investment withdrawals and capital gains.
Yes and that detail has provided a tightrope for me to walk. I can stay in longer increase my pension increase my taxable income. The downside is DW's retirement is all in 401ks and 403bs. Should she survive me she's going to be facing a tremendous tax torpedo. I'm really going to stick to my guns so that we have a good 7 years between retirement and taking SS, expressly for the purpose of doing Roth conversions. My hope is to surf right at the edge of the 12% bracket.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:16 PM   #59
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No pension. I've sometimes felt that there should be parallel forums for folks w/pensions and those without. When you have no pension, you only get one chance to get it right. The other important thing is that most Americans with government pensions and some with corporate & union pensions, is that they usually get subsidized and guaranteed health insurance along with their pension. Those of us with no pension in the USA often had to deal with the ACA and the high premiums in the years before Medicare begins, as well as occasional nail-biting when there have been attempts to end the ACA. I'm thankful that the ACA began its existence when I wanted to ER.

I'm always amazed when I talk with government employees, at how many are completely clueless about the fact that pensions have largely ceased to exist in the private sector. And don't get me started and say "well why didn't you get a government job?". I had been working for a megacorp for over 10 years when I went into work one morning and found a memo stating that the pension plan and retiree healthcare were ending immediately, except for those employees who were already vested (25+ years IIRC). I got some piddling "cash value" for my 10+ years which I rolled over to my IRA. Folks who were within a year or two of being vested were really screwed.

I know of one retired GS-15 federal employee whose CSRS COLA'd pension began in the low 6 figures, and this person was genuinely worried about being able to live on that!

As for those federal employees with less insanely generous FERS pensions, that COLA'd pension is probably still far better than 98% of other Americans' retirement incomes, but they also will get Social Security, so they should be sitting pretty.

The lack of a pension is one of the reasons I'm waiting until age 70 to start collecting Social Security. I want to maximize the monthly amount.
Gov't type pension is all relative.
No chance that any gov't job related to my skills could have paid me what I earned in the private sector.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:16 PM   #60
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For those who envy the CSRS pension, keep in mind that it is taxed at ordinary income rates, unlike investment withdrawals and capital gains.
I'm struggling to see the relevance of this post as private pensions are ordinary income too... as are withdrawals from tax-deferred savings which is what replaced many corporate pensions over the years.

OTOH, IF someone's retirement savings are taxable account money AND are invested in equities, then that money is eligible for preferential rates.... but IME there are relatively few ERs in that situation... the one's I can think of are entreprenuers who grew and then sold a business so have significant taxable account savings.
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