Independent Actuaries Blog Category: Defined Benefit Plans

What Does a Pension Actuary Do Anyway?

When I’m asked what I do for a living, I tell people I’m a pension actuary. I explain that I work on defined benefit pension plans for employers, calculating the employers’ contribution obligations and calculating benefits for plan participants. I … Continue reading

Death Benefits? That Depends.

“That depends” is often the answer I give when my clients ask seemingly simple questions. My statement is followed by a series of questions that help me answer their original question. Alternatively, I could talk for hours on the myriad … Continue reading

Death, Taxes, and Pension Actuaries

Benjamin Franklin noted that “nothing is certain but death and taxes”. That phrase has particular irony for pension plan actuaries. While ultimately certain, we use mortality assumptions to calculate pension liabilities that in turn determine tax advantages. The mortality assumptions … Continue reading

What OJ Simpson Can Teach You About Retirement Security

Last week ESPN posted an article that “OJ Simpson may have made more than $600K while incarcerated.” Initially, I was amazed to think he was still receiving endorsement money. But when I clicked on the article, I discovered the money … Continue reading

Tips For The Self-Employed: How To Ensure A Stable Financial Future

Self-employed people aren’t always as prepared for retirement as their corporate counterparts. They don’t have their company telling them to contribute to a retirement plan that just happens to already be set up for them. Self-employed people must take the … Continue reading

Have You Noticed All of the Participant Notice Requirements?

There are potentially more participant notices that apply to a retirement plan than can be counted on both hands. Not all notices apply to all types of plans and some only apply to certain participants. Some are required quarterly, some … Continue reading

Is it Better to Take Monthly Pension Payments or a Lump Sum?

The decision to take a monthly pension payment at retirement or to receive a one-time lump sum after departing your company depends on a number of variables. Upon quick review, taking the lump sum can provide you with more flexibility whereas … Continue reading

What Can You and Jeb Bush Have in Common?

A CPA acquaintance of mine recently forwarded this article to me (I had missed it when it was first published). The article reports that GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush contributed an average of $350,000 per year into a defined benefit pension plan, … Continue reading

How Do You Balance a Budget?

  Q: How do you balance a budget? A (from Congress): Reduce future pension plan contributions. Once again pension contributions are connected to budget deals in Washington, DC. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA 2015) extends the interest rate … Continue reading

IRS Prohibits Lump Sum Offerings to Current Retirees

On July 9, 2015, the IRS issued notice of their intent to amend regulations prohibiting defined benefit plans from offering a lump sum option to participants already in pay status (Notice 2015-49). At first glance, this seems like an extreme … Continue reading