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The Changing Landscape of Retirement Pensions

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We've already covered how the retirement landscape in America is changing. One contributing factor is the changes being made to defined-benefit pension plans. In the private sector, defined-benefit pensions simply are disappearing. According to Towers Watson, over the last 15 years there has been a big decline in the number of largest American companies offering new hires defined-benefit pensions. That percentage took a 36-point nosedive from 60 to 24 percent.

There also has been pressure on defined-benefit pensions in the public sector. In mid-June, the Obama administration announced it would be looking at ways to cut benefits in multi-employer private pension plans. Over 10 million people are covered by about 1,400 multi-employer plans. It's been estimated around 1 million of those individuals would run out of money in the coming years. Hundreds of thousands of retirees would be affected with the benefit cuts.

Defined-Benefit Pensions at State Level
Defined-benefit pensions have also been affected at state and local levels. For instance, Pennsylvania has been a hotbed for pension reform discussion.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a municipal pension debt report, in which he reported the debts municipalities are facing. One of the cities, Scranton would be bankrupt in a couple years from pensions being underfunded by 77 percent. And as for the results:

• In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has called for heavy cuts to the municipal pension system
• Currently officials say municipal pension plans have an aggregate debt of $8 billion
• Reform bills would terminate these plans for future local firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service personnel
• During June, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a pension reform bill affecting over 350,000 state workers and public education employees
• The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to pass it, too
• With the reform, state workers will be forced into 401k-style plans with greatly reduced benefits

This debt situation is not limited to just Pennsylvania, either. It's an issue with which many states across the country are struggling.

What's the Outcome?
Because of these changes in public- and private-sector pensions, many people are now examining other retirement vehicles. Alternative financial solutions such as fixed index annuities have surged in popularity. In 2014, fixed index annuity sales reached $47 billion – a 104.3% increase from sales of $23 billion in 2004.

There are other factors to consider, too:

• People are living longer – in 2011, the average life expectancy was 78.7 years
• More people are entering retirement – an additional 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 years old each day
• Many households have inadequate retirement savings and don't have much time to further build up funds

If you're facing changes to your defined-benefit pension plan or looking for ways to maintain your lifestyle in retirement, we can help.

Financial Solutions from Safe Money Resource
Retirement planning can be a stressful process. It has broad implications for the future and how people will live in their retirement years. But planning for your retirement future doesn't have to be stressful.

Via SafeMoney.com, there are numerous articles on annuities, life insurance, long-term care insurance, Social Security benefits, IRAs, retirement income planning, estate planning, and more. We invite you to use these resources to educate yourself fully. If you're ready for personal guidance, a no-cost consultation with a financial professional can help clarify your needs, goals, and overall retirement picture.

Use our Find a Licensed Advisor section to connect directly with an independent financial professional, and to request a personal strategy session to discuss your needs and goals. And should you have any questions or concerns, call 877.476.9723.

Author: Super User

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