Natixis Global Asset Management and CoreData Research recently released their 2017 Global Retirement Index (Index)--their fifth such Index to date assessing retirement security in 43 developed countries. The Index utilizes 18 drivers of retirement security, grouped into four categories: health, finances, quality of life, and material well being. The data respecting the United States is disappointing.
ERISA [the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which governs most private-sector pension plans] seeks to protect employees' interests in their employer-provided pension benefits. Therefore, in order to recover pension benefits under an ERISA-governed plan, one must be an employee of the sponsoring employer. The same holds true if you work for a governmental employer; that is, you must be an employee of the governmental entity. Disputes sometimes arise when parties disagree as to whether a worker is an employee or, instead, an independent contractor. A recent case illustrates how the problem might arise, and the factors courts consider in deciding the question, at least where the claim is for ERISA plan benefits. Jammal v. Am. Family Ins. Group, No. 1:13-cv-437. 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120684 (N.D. Ohio, Aug. 1, 2017).
Pension plan participants sometimes call me about a dispute they are having with the plan administrator as to whether they are vested in their pension benefits. As part of their inquiry, they want to know the rules governing pension vesting. Here are the general rules, along with a real-life example of how they worked for a caller who, after 20 years of service with the same employer, was denied a pension on the ground that she was not vested.
The typical method of learning people's financial well-being is to conduct a survey and ask them questions about their savings, assets, and income. However, people are often confused by survey questions. This is especially true when knowing what counts as income.