Key Strategies to Maximize Your Pension Benefits

Boeing employees have many benefits but often need to be more utilized or understood. One such benefit is their retirement and savings options. For instance, most employees need to know they can take a lump sum from their pension in exchange for the right to monthly payments. These payments will vary based on interest rates which are adjusted each November.

Get a Financial Plan

As many local engineers know, Boeing offers a variety of retirement options. However, it is often tricky for employees to understand the details of their options or how they fit into a comprehensive financial plan. For example, employees vested in the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) pension plan can take their Boeing pension as either a lump sum or lifetime monthly payments. Calculating what a lump sum is equivalent in actuarial terms to a lifetime of monthly checks is dependent on interest rates, and the recent increase in interest rates means that lump sum payouts will be lower. A well-designed financial strategy helps employees better understand their options and make more informed decisions that reduce money stress and increase their quality of life in retirement.

Review Your Benefits

Boeing employees should be aware of the options available to them. They need to understand how their pension fits into their overall financial plan. They should also consider whether they need a monthly or lump sum payment. Employees should review their retirement account contributions and allocations for Boeing company benefits during the annual enrollment process. Specifically, they should consider their Boeing VIP and 401(k) contributions, where the money goes (Roth vs. non-Roth), RMD requirements, and systematic withdrawal plans.

Additionally, they should consider other company-provided benefits such as pet insurance, student loan repayment programs, and health savings accounts. The goal is to determine what other employee benefits are underutilized and how they can be improved. It is essential to stay up-to-date on new benefit trends to offer the most competitive package possible. Moreover, it is crucial to understand how your competitors are competing for the same talent.

Take Advantage of the Company’s Matching Program

The company’s matching program is a great way to boost your retirement savings. We recommend taking advantage of it by maximizing the amount you contribute to your Boeing VIP. It would be best to consider investing in a Roth IRA, reexamining your overall retirement goals, and aligning your investments with those goals. Suppose you’re a member of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the union that Boeing’s engineers belong to. In that case, you can take your lump-sum or annuity payout when you retire. About half of all retiring engineers have chosen the lump sum option in recent years. Your advisor can help you decide which option is right for you. The choice comes down to a risk assessment of what kind of return would have to be generated on the lump-sum amount to generate the duplicate monthly payments that your annuity will offer you for life. This will vary depending on current interest rates and your estimated longevity at retirement.

Ensure Your Beneficiaries Are Updated

Many people need to update their beneficiaries after life-changing events, like marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, or even widowhood. As a result, they can leave their assets or policy proceeds to someone who is not intended. Keeping your beneficiary information up to date is one of the best ways to ensure that your family members will receive the money you want them to have upon your death. It only takes a few minutes to make these changes online. For example, married couples typically choose to designate their spouse as the primary beneficiary in case either dies before the other. They also may want to choose the survivor option through their monthly payment plan so that if one spouse passes away before the other, the remaining spouse will continue receiving payments. In the same way, other beneficiaries can be designated for various retirement accounts. This can be done by logging into their account or using the beneficiary form provided.

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