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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, 06:07 PM   #81
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We do have to start doing Roth conversions, painful though it will be. Waited till we weren't subject to MD state/county income tax of nearly 9%. Need to consult a CPA once extended tax season's over.

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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, 06:13 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by stepford View Post
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.
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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.
If I had a "small" pension equivalent to 22% of my final salary plus the amount of Social Security I'm eligible to receive right now, I'd have more income than I spend in a year, including taxes. Of course everybody's definition of a "small" pension or "mini-pension" differs, as does their final salary, or course. But I'm sure it's a lot more than the $100/month pensions which some people say they're getting. Although your pension may not be enough for most of us to live on by itself, I still wouldn't classify it as "small". It's certainly far better than the $0/month pension that 36.67% of us (as of this moment) are receiving.
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:26 PM   #83
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I have a small pension $15k per year. It helps as I have a long time to SS
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:36 PM   #84
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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.


Mine is a DB, belong to a Union. It is funded 100% by the employer.
For every qualifying year it is $210 per month.

It goes up $5 every year, so I have 17 qualifying years, if i retire today 17x 210 = $ 3570 per month, will include COLA.

Plan on working three more years which will take me to 20 x $225 = $ 4500 per month.
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:37 PM   #85
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I have a FERS pension that began in 2014 when I retired at the age of 52 under a discontinued service retirement (DSR). When I turned 56, I began receiving a FERS supplemental annuity which approximates (in my case) 1/2 of what OPM estimates my SS payments will be at the age of 62. DH is pensionless.
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Old 05-12-2021, 06:41 PM   #86
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I have a FERS pension that began in 2014 when I retired at the age of 52 under a discontinued service retirement (DSR). When I turned 56, I began receiving a FERS supplemental annuity which approximates (in my case) 1/2 of what OPM estimates my SS payments will be at the age of 62. DH is pensionless.

But I love him anyway.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:03 PM   #87
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Worked a career for Big Oil, which until recently was nearly 100% in offering pensions. I was bounced around in my career by unit sales and company mergers. Vested in 4 different mega-corp pensions. I have since taken lump sum offers on 2 of the pensions. One starts in 3 years (age 65) at $900/month, no other options. One is deferrable until age 71 and will be $2700/month at that time, $1600/month if I started it today. No COLA on any of them, so I hope for controlled inflation. I also qualified for max SS, so I'm pretty good with eventual secure retirement income. I'm running on nothing but savings for the next 8 years.

Pensions are just one of the many little divides in society now. I never mention pensions among family or friends even though mine aren't jaw dropping. I have too many people in my circle that neither worked for a pension nor are saving enough on their own.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:11 PM   #88
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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.
Good points and mirrors some of my own thoughts, and I don't seriously think there should be a separate forum, either.

It reminds me of when you hear about a certain percentage of people have very little to no retirement savings, but if you have a sweet government pension, you can be living it up a lot better than someone with a $1M in savings.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:38 PM   #89
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An extremely tiny one ... probably 8K a year if that. When I left that employer, I joked it will probably pay the deductibles for my prescription meds. I'm 54 ... that's probably about right the way things are going. Better than nothing though.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:53 PM   #90
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Got a very generous defined benefit pension from state government which includes a small COLA provision (capped at 2%). My state pension amount is more than twice my last salary rate when I was still working. As well, I have Social Security benefits. And my RMD's from my tIRAs would more than comfortably support me without either the pension or SS benefits.

So, I am in the pleasant position of having to vet charitable organizations to whom I can make IRA QCD's to "solve" my unneeded RMD problem!
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:02 PM   #91
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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.
Totally agree. When I started public service 30+ years ago our pay was low enough that no one was ever concerned about how much we'd make in retirement. Fast forward 30 years and it's night and day since I started. I had a fellow employee who's father is a doctor say that we made more than him. Surprisingly he was right.

I also agree that most younger public employees have no idea about real world pensions, retirements or the need to save. Us older retirees know darn well at this point how well we have it.

If either myself or wife live to age 85, my retirement system will have payed out well over $3,000,000 to us. Age 95 and your looking at close to $5,000,000

Although most public retirement plans have since reeled in benefits to younger employees, it's still a nice plan pension to have.
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:12 PM   #92
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state and local govt defined benefit pensions.
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:19 AM   #93
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A state pension of 25k/year and 377/month SS because of WEP. I am very grateful that I worked for the government. Because of being a SAHM for awhile and going to college in my 30’s I got a late start.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:09 AM   #94
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I have a FERS pension that is 36% of my final salary with a diet COLA but it took me 32 years of service and age 62 to earn it. Missed CSRS by a year. Even with FERS and SS, I would have $20K/yr more with CSRS alone. Oh well, I delayed starting SS a few years to beef it up and can now live on FERS and SS, just dipping into my TSP (401k) when needed for a car, large home repairs, etc.

My brother has a corporate pension at 40% of final salary for 20 years of service and reduced some for survivor benefits (as is FERS and CSRS) but I am not sure if there is a COLA. Also lots of stock at a discounted price and a retirement health insurance package. The company no longer offers pensions to new employees.
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:20 AM   #95
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I call my pension "modest" as it was only about 1/3 my last 5 years average salary. It is NOT COLA'd. So way better than a stick in the eye, but I wouldn't want to live on it - without SS and my "stash." Big thing to me was employer provided supplement to Health Insurance (Including, now MC) YMMV
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:31 AM   #96
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I was reading the other day how younger workers are only experiencing about 20% defined pensions. Most MegaCorps are assisting in funding 401Ks.

I was fortunate to have both 401K & defined pension.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:25 AM   #97
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I think we can all live harmoniously in a single forum, but it is a good reminder that it is basic human nature to look at things through the lens of our own personal experience. When I post, I try to keep in mind that my situation may not be like yours, but I'm sure I'm not always successful. The best we can do is try to be aware of the fact and how it might affect any advice we may be giving.
Yes we can, for sure. But the relevance of people's answers is different.

For instance let's say in a discussion about investing, someone with a full pension and 500K in investments says, "I am very bullish. I am invested 100 percent in stocks", it is very different than a non-pension person living entirely off say $2M of investments saying the same thing.

Because the risks they are taking are very different. This is just one of numerous examples.

I have often thought it would be helpful if it were easier to know the financial context of people's comments.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:30 AM   #98
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DW has a small state government pension, not even enough to cover our health insurance premiums. It used to cover just hers until I FIRE'd and was added to her retiree policy. Unfortunately, they only withhold from her pension check if it's enough to cover the entire bill, so now we're stuck with paying the whole shebang with taxable dollars instead of pre-tax dollars.

But we are glad to have every little bit!

[edit to add] Pension is COLA'd, but hers and my health policies are not subsidized. We do get decent rates since we're in a huge group plan (the state).
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:38 AM   #99
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DW qualified for a modest pension at about 10 percent of our expenses, PLUS $60 a month toward health insurance(!!). And a diet COLA.

Understand, no health insurance options are provided, just the $60 per month "subsidy" which has to be funded each year by the legislature.

Still, we feel blessed to have it. Anytime you are being paid an amount for the rest of your life it is valuable. We planned our retirement assuming our savings had to provide everything so the small pension and our SS (to whatever extent) are longevity insurance.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:42 AM   #100
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Yeah, it's a small one, though. About $1000/month.

They've written me letters offering to convert it to a lump sum, but I like the idea of a $1000/month check for the rest of my life. I also figure that if they're trying to convince me to take a lump sum, that's probably in their interest, not mine.
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