Friday, February 24, 2006

Let's all retire to the south of France

A couple of weeks ago one of the French animators at work made the casual comment that it was a shame that when he eventually went back to France he would be leaving his Guild pensions behind. I was surprised, and asked him where he got that info. Another French animator had told him that they could only collect their pensions if they stayed in the States. Now, that would be incredibly unfair, wouldn't it? Imagine having your studio pay into your two pension plans year after year, and then you leave that money behind when you return home. So I was very happy to tell him that whatever pensions he earned were his to collect, wherever he may be at retirement. I said it would be the same if I retired and moved to the south of France -- I would just have to notify the pension plan that I was retiring, and where I was living. Actually, it sounds like a pretty damn good idea. Sell the house in LA and buy a chateau! Definitely a plan. And remember, we all have to do the same steps to collect our pensions. When you hit retirement age, the MPIPH will not automatically start sending you checks. You must confirm to them that you are indeed retiring -- after all, some people keep working well beyond retirement age. Steve can tell some pretty sad stories of people who, for various reasons, never contacted the MPIPH when they retired. If you delay doing that, you'll never get back the pension money you missed collecting. By the way, for all you members from other countries, Social Security works in a similar way. There's a 10 year vest for Social Security, and if do vest you're entitled to it, even if you don't still live here. Also, many nations have signed "Totalization Agreements" so that whatever years you work here and pay into our Social Security system can count towards social security in your home country. If that might apply to you, I suggest you do a little research. You might be earning a lot more retirement benefits than you ever imagined.


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