Wednesday, October 18, 2006

TAG Pension Plans Made Simple

If you're working at at Guild shop, here's a quick summary of the three pensions available to you. If you're working at a non-Guild animation, CG or gaming company, you might want to ask yourself "Why can't I have those kind of benefits?"

We've covered this topic in greater detail in our blog postings here, here, here and here, but it's time to simplify and reiterate ...

"How Much Pension Will I Get?"

There's three pension plans for TAG members. You control one -- the 401(k) Plan -- and it's optional. You either participate in it or not. The other two you are enrolled in automatically. (Meaning you have no choice. You're a participant, like it or not. And you should like it, because it mean a bunch of money is automatically being put away in your name for when you retire.)

As regards the hard-number examples we're about to throw at you, your mileage may vary. If you're working at a Guild shop and you're a part of our plans, you should be getting regular statements -- the 401(k) Plan statements should be coming from Mass Mutual (on a quarterly basis), the pension and IAP reports should be coming from the MPIPHP (on a yearly basis). If you have any further questions about the 401(k) plan, contact Marta Strohl-Rowand at (818) 766-7151 ext. 101. For info about your defined benefit pension or IAP, contact the MPIPHP at (818) 769-0007 or (310) 769-0007 [outside southern California, (888) 369-2007].

The 401(k) Plan is a "no-match" 401(k) plan; it's your contributions only, not the employer's. There's twenty-four investment options to choose from. Money deducted from your paycheck goes into the plan (max is $15,000 in '06; $20,000 if you're age fifty or more.) Money gets tax-deferred (you don't have to pay income taxes on it). Four enrollment periods per year: January 1, April 1, July 1, October 1.

The defined benefit plan: This is paid as a monthly annuity (meaning they'll send you a retirement check every thirty days when you retire.)

Five qualified years are needed to be "vested," that is, to qualify for a pension at the point of retirement. A qualified year is a year in which you've worked a minimum of 400 contribution hours.

Five qualified years with 2,000 hours -- fifty 40-hour weeks -- in each year, would get you approximately $375 per month. Ten qualified years (same hours per year as above) would get you $750 per month, give or take. Twenty qualified years (same hours) gets you in the range of $1,750 per month (after your tenth qualified year, the formula gets a little more generous).

Under the Individual Account Plan, a TAG member making minimum rate of $1,436.56 per week, who works fifty weeks in the year, will end up with $4,220 in her or his IAP account. The IAP is a big basket of money that you can't touch until retirement. The basket, averaged over the past twenty-seven years, has earned interest of 7.5% per annum. (The investment mix is about 60% bonds, 40% stock and real estate.)

So, you're working non-Guild and you'd like these kind of benefits? Help us help you to get them. Fill out and sign a representation card, and get your fellow employees to do the same.


Anonymous said...

Hi - I just want to say "thanks" to the Steve, Kevin and all the hardworking folks at the union. Thanks for 1) fighting for and keeping great benefits and 2) for working to keep the costs down on the 401K and on our medical plans and 3) for explaining how the benefits work - at every possible opportunity. I read all the posts (about money) because I take care of the finances in our family. I notice that there's lots of discussion and comments on the blog about who is making what, who is doing what, etc. But almost no one comments on the financial posts.

So I thought I would - just this once - to say Thank YOU!!! I'm grateful for the IAP, for the Pension Plan and thee 401K plan --- we should all realize that we're VERY lucky to have all 3. Lots of our friends in regular corporate America jobs don't even have a 401K.

And THANK YOU for the great explanations and communication about what our choices are ... and thanks even for the constant reminders that we need to save for a rainy day. :)

Families all over animation land are grateful for your efforts.

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