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BMO Bank of Montreal

February 12, 2012 08:00 ET

BMO Retirement Tips of the Day: Don't Rely Too Heavily on Your Company Pension Plan and Choose Wisely With Your Defined Benefit Plan

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 12, 2012) - As the February 29th deadline approaches to make a contribution to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and as part of its ongoing commitment to improving financial literacy, BMO Financial Group will be providing daily retirement tips during the month of February from BMO Retirement Institute Head Tina Di Vito's new book 52 Ways To Wreck Your Retirement…And How To Rescue It.

Tip Number 23:

Have other retirement income options in addition to your company pension plan

In today's uncertain economy, even employer pension plans do not guarantee retirement security. Workplace pensions rarely provide all the income you will need in retirement. Having a clear picture of how much income your pension will provide will help you determine how much additional personal savings you will need to fill any gap between your anticipated retirement lifestyle expenses and your pension plan income. There are a few factors to consider to avoid under-saving for retirement, including:

  • Understand what kind of plan you have (is it a Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan; Defined Contribution (DC) pension plan; or group RRSP?)
  • Join your workplace plan as soon as you are eligible and contribute as much as possible to the plan
  • Consider contributing to an individual RRSP or a group RRSP if it is offered by your employer and take advantage of any contribution matching opportunities

Tip Number 24:

Choose wisely with your Defined Benefit pension plan

If you leave your employer before your retirement date, you may have a decision to make regarding the money you've accumulated in your defined benefit (DB) pension plan. With a DB plan, you may be given the choice between receiving a lifetime monthly pension or taking a one-time lump sum and investing it yourself. It is important to make the right choice - this decision is likely irrevocable. So, ask yourself: would you rather have a guaranteed amount of income during retirement or would you prefer to assume full responsibility for investing your money? There are several questions to consider:

  • Are you prepared to manage the investments yourself?
  • What are the survivor benefits in the event of your death?
  • What is the certainty that your company will still be around to make payments?
  • Are there post-retirement benefits (such as medical and dental benefits)?
  • Does your monthly pension have a cost of living adjustment to keep up with inflation?

For more information on retirement: www.bmo.com/retirement.

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