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Retirement Planning in the Contemporary Context

Pensions and retirement accounts – a time of transition

It’s widely accepted that traditional occupational pensions are no longer the secure retirement planning vehicles they once were. Instead, these are being replaced with 401(k)s IRAs and other types of savings accounts, which provide less in the way of “guaranteed” returns in exchange for the greater possibility for growth that is inherent in investment in the stock market.

Another recent trend is for firms to sell off their pension plans to insurance companies who then pay retirees an annuity that is equivalent in value to that of their pension. Notable examples of this include FedEx and Lockheed Martin, companies which have sold their pensions to Metropolitan Life* and Prudential** respectively .

In a press release, Scott Kaplan, head of pension risk transfer at Prudential, suggested that such actions help companies like Lockheed Martin to better focus on their core operations and reduce risks.**

However, there are certain potential drawbacks to exchanging a pension for an annuity, including the risk that the insurer could fold or that the pension might be undervalued. This is why retirement financial advice is so essential, particularly for those cross-border interested individuals who might have extra complications to consider.

Why advice matters

According to a 2018 Federal Reserve Publication, Report on the Economic Wellbeing of U.S. Households in 2018, around 70%*** of Americans have self-directed retirement savings and as such need to take control of how their money is invested. However, six in ten of these are not comfortable with the process inherent in making such choices, with women even less comfortable than men.

Even among those who expressed confidence in making self-directed retirement decisions, the level of financial education was inadequate, with, on average, those in this group answering just 3.7 out of 5 financial literacy questions correctly*** – as such, unless a person is a seasoned professional retirement investor, it is always best to seek independent financial advice.

Blacktower (US) LLC for retirement planning

Blacktower (US) LLC can help you with all aspects of your cross-border financial planning, including managing your retirement accounts.

We pride ourselves on providing a tailored service; we listen carefully to your circumstances, financial needs and long-term goals.

Contact our advisors today so that we can help you move towards your goals.


* Accessed 16-08-19

** Accessed 16-08-19

*** Accessed 16-08-19

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