Separating Fact from Fiction



Planning for retirement is not the time for guessing games. One may make important decisions based on the opinions of others, only to later find out that they were wrong! Uninformed choices can drastically affect your dependants and ultimately the stability of your retirement years. Let’s take a look at some of the commonly held misconceptions and separate fact from fiction.


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FICTION:  I’ve been working all of my adult life.  I should have a large pension when I retire.  

FACT:  As it only became mandatory for employers to establish a private pension plan effective January 1, 2000, you may only have pension savings for about 16 years, in addition to any extra pension that you are entitled to under the Government Contributory Pension Plan (Social Insurance). The amount of pension that you receive will from your employers private pension plan will be based on a number of factors including your age, account balance, interest rates and gender.

We encourage you to utilise our ‘Retirement Planner’ to estimate your projected retirement income and future income needs. If there is a shortfall, voluntary contributions can be made to boost your retirement income.

FICTION: I can’t afford to make voluntary contributions.

FACT: Consider  making a monthly voluntary contribution as small as $50; then gradually increase your voluntary contributions as your circumstances change. The voluntary contributions are available as a cash resource and you can stop making voluntary contributions whenever you like. No one has ever said “I’m glad I didn’t make voluntary contributions prior to retirement”.

Plig $50 into our ‘Wealth Builder’ calculator and see just how easy it is to add to your retirement fund! Complete a Voluntary Contribution Authorisation Form, available from the Forms section of the Argus website, or contact your Human Resources or Payroll department to get started today!

 

FICTION: I can use my pension plan as a “financial hardship” to purchase or renovate my home.

FACT: Your pension plan is intended to provide you with an income when you retire.  However to assist with financial difficulties which you may encounter, pension legislation allows for two hardship withdrawals during your lifetime if there are no other reasonable ways of raising money to pay the expenses or arrears. Purchasing or renovating a house is NOT considered a financial hardship. The eligible categories of financial hardship are:

  • mortgage delinquency
  • rental arrears
  • educational expenses
  • medical expenses (not covered by health insurance)

As hardship withdrawals will significantly impact your future retirement income, we encourage you to make additional contributions to your account if and when you are able in order to keep your retirement savings on track.

Applications for financial hardship must be submitted to the Pension Commission.
Visit www.pensioncommission.bm for more details.

 

FICTION: The pension funds accumulated under my previous employer’s pension plan will automatically transfer to my current employer’s pension plan.

FACT: No, you are required to provide written instructions to transfer your existing pension plan funds to another pension plan. Your portability options include transfer to your current employer’s pension plan or transfer to an approved Individual Retirement Plan.

Contact our Customer Service Center for assistance with reviewing your options and completing the transfer.  

 

FICTION: I don’t have to revisit my investment strategy once it is determined.

FACT: You should review your investment strategy at least once every five years, particularly if there are significant changes in your life such as: increasing family size, home purchase, marriage or divorce.

Contact your Argus Pensions advisor who can provide guidance and adjust your investment strategy if needed.



FICTION:
Whomever I name in my Will document will replace my pension beneficiary.

FACT: No, your pension plan beneficiary will receive any death benefit that is available regardless what is stated in your Will. Your Will is separate and distinct.  It is recommended that each year you review your pension plan beneficiary(ies) to ensure that they are up to date and current. You can view them via the online portal or on your semi-annual member statements. Contact our Customer Service Center for any additional queries regarding beneficiaries.

 

FICTION: Once I turn 55, I can start receiving my retirement benefits, even if I’m still working.

FACT: You are eligible for early retirement benefits (normally from age 55) only if you retire from the workforce. If you wish to commence early retirement benefits, you must provide confirmation, in writing, that you are retired from the workforce and do not have any intentions of seeking part-time or full-time employment.

 

FICTION: At age 65, I have to stop contributing into a pension plan.

FACT: Should you continue to work once you reach normal retirement age (usually 65 unless the Plan Rules state otherwise), you will have the option to remain in the pension plan. If you decide to remain in, you and your employer will continue to contribute into the pension plan until you decide that you want to receive your pension benefits. At this point you and your employer will cease making contributions.

 

FICTION: I can take all of my pension savings as one lump sum when I retire.

FACT:  No, generally only voluntary contributions are available as a cash benefit at retirement.  The locked-in portion must be used to provide a pension at retirement as either a:

  • Fixed income annuity payable throughout your lifetime, or
  • Drawdown from your prescribed retirement product