By Jeanne Tepper, GOBankingRates.com (TNS)
There has been a lot of discussion about pensions and their disappearance from retirement benefits plans throughout the years. A 2014 report released by professional services organization Towers Watson found that only 24 percent of Fortune 500 companies still offered any type of defined benefit plan to their newly hired employees by the end of 2013, with nearly two-thirds of the 24 percent offering cash balance plans. Instead, these employers have adopted defined contribution and hybrid plans.
“There’s a move away from pensions, that’s nothing new,” senior retirement consultant at Towers Watson Alan Glickstein told The Washington Post. “But the move is slowing.”
Although the number of Fortune 500 companies offering traditional defined benefit plans has dropped significantly over the years, it is possible to find a job that still offers some sort of pension.
GAS AND POWER UTILITIES SECTOR
Many Fortune 500 companies in the utilities sector offer defined benefit plans to new employees, and they have kept their retirement benefits consistent between union and non-union workers. Because these jobs tend to be physically demanding, defined benefit plans “encourage/allow workers to retire at an appropriate time,” states the Towers Watson analysis.
The Towers Watson analysis also found that 46 percent of insurance companies offered hybrid and defined contribution plans, and 20 percent offered traditional defined benefit and defined contribution plans in 2013. Meanwhile, 34 percent offered defined contribution-only plans. According to the analysis, “due to their training and the nature of their work, employees in the insurance sector may be more inclined to understand and appreciate (defined benefit) plans relative to workers in other sectors.”
If you get a job as a public employee — such as a police officer, firefighter, etc. — you have a good chance of being enrolled in a state pension program. According to Monster.com, a state pension program could possibly “pay you up to 90 percent of your salary at retirement.”
Currently, troops can retire and receive their pensions after 20 years of service. The Military Times, however, reported in January that a military panel proposed a hybrid system that would “shrink the size of future troops’ pensions and end the 20-year, all-or-nothing aspect of the current benefits package by starting 401(k)-style investment funds with government contributions for lower-ranking troops.” According to USA Today, the new plan is expected to be in place by October 2017.
The top five employers ranked in AARP’s 2013 list of the “Best Employers for Workers Over 50” are in the health care/health service industry. At least four out of five of them offer some type of pension. For example, the National Institutes of Health offers employees a 403(b) plan with employer match as well as a defined benefit plan, and the Atlantic Health System gives full- and part-time workers a 403(b) plan and a cash-balance or other type of hybrid pension plan, according to AARP.
If you are considering a job change in the near future, take a close look at the retirement benefits certain positions offer. Use resources, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to discover pertinent facts about the salary and benefits. Even if you are not 50 years old, AARP’s list of the “Best Employers for Workers Over 50” has useful information about retirement benefits you might want to read up on before you apply for your next job.
Photo: Elvis Kennedy via Flickr