What Happens to Your Pension When the Company Goes Bust?

Studebaker auto workers found out the hard way in 1963. When the Studebaker Corp. shut down its plant in South Bend, Ind., workers who had been promised pensions saw their hard-earned benefits vanish in an instant. Instead of receiving fixed payments throughout retirement, thousands of employees were forced to take one-time lump sums worth a fraction of what they’d earned. Thousands more received no benefits at all. The Studebaker Corp. had been promising pension benefits to its employees, but in …

Pensions Are Promises. States Need to Keep Up Their End of the Deal

My Pop, a bus driver in Buffalo, worked until the mandatory retirement age of 70. He and my Mom lived on Social Security along with his modest pension. One Christmas, Pop couldn’t get into the spirit of the season. The next day, he confided that the next year health care premium increases would consume his entire pension check, and then some. I can only imagine how my parents’ lives would have been affected if Pop’s pension had been cut in …

Lynn Williams: He Fought for Retired Steelworkers

When Lynn Williams took the helm of the United Steelworkers union in 1983, the domestic steel industry seemed to be in a death spiral. From 1981 to 1985 – a period Williams later called a “frightful time” for the union, its members and its retirees – the basic steel industry shed some 350,000 jobs in the United States, triggering a wave of early retirements and, in many cases, putting retiree health benefits and pensions in jeopardy. >> Sign up for …

Older Job Seekers Have Little Patience for Long Search

When it comes to the stressful search for a job, older workers apparently have less tolerance for the process. Most either land a job or stop searching altogether within a year or less, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Those who have employer-paid pensions, retirement assets and Social Security to rely on were more likely to end the job hunt even sooner, usually within four months, the study found. In fact, just being eligible …

More New Retirement Account Proposals

Americans are way short in their retirement savings, and President Obama’s MyRA plan, which he unveiled last week, isn’t the only new proposal that aims to help with that problem. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also offered a savings plan. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has one of his own, which follows a report he released last summer. Of these three proposals, Harkin’s is the most ambitious. His Universal, Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds would create a …

Pensions Under Attack, AARP Fights Back

The financial security of many older Americans could be at risk under a proposed law that was the focus of a hearing this week on Capitol Hill. Under the proposed plan, millions of retirees could see cuts to the benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. At issue is a proposal by multi-employer pension plans (plans in which many employers contribute to a common fund to cover their mobile workforce) devised to save the plans from insolvency.  That …