In today’s economy, offers of an early retirement buyout for a current employee or a pension buyout directed at a former employee are becoming common as companies look for ways to cut costs. Many large employers are offering employees who are not yet at retirement age the option to take an early retirement buyout.
For companies that had a pension plan for their employees, pension buyout offers have become standard practice due to the increasing costs of administering pension plans. Even though pension plans may not be currently part of the employer’s retirement plan, there may be former employees that have the pension plan. Companies have a desire to get the liabilities associated with the pension payments for retired employees off their balance sheets well ahead of their retirement start dates.
Both of these types of offers usually come with several options:
- Take the value of your early retirement or pension buyout as a lump-sum payment which can be rolled over to an IRA. The advantage is the ability to manage this money outside the employer’s plan, perhaps growing the value to a level that would provide a more significant benefit than taking your payments every month.
- Take a monthly payout now (earlier than your average retirement age) with tax consequences.
- Do nothing and take your original pension payment (or a lump-sum if offered) at your planned retirement age.
Factors to consider:
- Will taking one of the buyout options put you in a better financial position than doing nothing and waiting until your normal retirement age?
- Are you comfortable managing a lump-sum yourself or do you prefer a financial professional you trust to help?
- Is your financial or health situation such that taking the monthly payments now would make sense?
With companies experiencing an unknown financial future due to COVID-19, the tariff environment, and the worldwide economy, buyouts may continue for some time. If you receive an early retirement or pension buyout offer, meet with your financial professional to help you evaluate your offer and make the appropriate choice for your personal situation.
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This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax in addition to current income tax.