Thursday, September 15, 2011

The TAG 401(k), the MPIPHP and Retirement Calculations

Once again, I am out with 401(k) Enrollment Meetings. And once again I get questions about how everything fits together.

Among the questions I get are (Surprise!) "What kind of pension(s) do I have?" and "How much money will I need when I retire?" ...

The answer to the first query is, under the Animation Guild, employees at most studios have three plans. The two pensions from the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan are automatic. (That is, the employer makes contributions on your behalf to both of them from the first day of your employment.) The third pension, courtesy of The Animation Guild 401(k) Plan, is optional. (That one you have to sign up for. Those contributions come out of your weekly wages.)

You'll find more details about all the Pension Plans here and here. (Pay particular attention to the comment threads.)

As it stands right now, you can defer up to $16,500 into the TAG 401(k) Plan each year. (That goes up to $22,500 when you hit age fifty.) The 401(k) Plan has been in existence for sixteen years, and we now have participants who, between the TAG 401(k) and the Individual Account Plan, have $400 to $600 thousand dollars in their combined retirement accounts.

This money, along with Social Security (generally in the $1200-$2200/month range) and the Defined Monthly Benefit from the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan, (anywhere from $230 to $5000 per month, depending on a participant's total hours and total number of qualified pension years), means that animation retirees should have a pretty good cash flow to see them through their non-working years.

As to how much money a person should take from their money stash one year to the next, the traditional view is that most people can draw 3% or 4% for thirty years, without running savings (investments, retirement accounts) down to zero.

But of course, everybody's circumstances are different, and so it might be a good idea to check out one or more of these Retirement Calculators found in the Bogleheads Wiki. They may not provide you with all the answers, but they'll give a good general idea of how much you'll need to finance those years you're going to spend on the beach at Key Largo.


Anonymous said...

Are the percentages published for calculating the defined benefit adjusted for inflation? Do they change according to inflation? In today's economy, how is this dealt with, as it is impossible to determine what $5000/month in 20 years means without adjusting for inflation.

Steve Hulett said...

The Defined Benefit Plan doesn't adjust for inflation.

What the Plan has done for many years is issue a thirteenth and fourteenth check. So, if you're collecting, say, $3500 per month, you would receive an extra $7000 at the end of the year. (14 X $3500 = $49,000).

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that is really very helpful to know. I did not find any such information in the published material. Obviously, with the macro economics going off the rails like they have these last three years, the issue of inflation and purchasing power in the long term is looming very large. $5000 today could easily be only $1000 tomorrow if the slump we are in proves not to be a slump, but the new normal. Trying to be optimistic, but the important things continue to stretch far beyond the reach of the average fixed income, healthcare costs being only the beginning of the trend.

el Diablo said...

"Trying to be optimistic, but the important things continue to stretch far beyond the reach of the average fixed income, healthcare costs being only the beginning of the trend."

cue in typical right wing response: 'It's Obama's fault'

Anonymous said...

If you are blaming a president for this mess, you haven't been paying attention to how this corporate consumer economy works.

Steve Hulett said...

Economies go up and down. In the 21st century, global finances, manufacturing and consumer trends are interconnected.

All you can do is plan, save, and figure out the best path for you, based on the information available.

Everyhing else will unfold as it will.

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