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Should You Take a Pension Buyout?

Posted September 26, 2012 in Advice Column

Have you recently received a pension buyout offer? If so, you need to decide if you should take the buyout, which could provide you with a potentially large lump sum, or continue accepting your regular pension payments for the rest of your life. It’s a big decision.

Clearly, there’s no “one size fits all” answer — your choice needs to be based on your individual circumstances. So, as you weigh your options, you’ll need to consider a variety of key issues, including the following:

    •    Estate considerations. Your pension payments generally end when you and/or your spouse dies, which means your children will get none of the money. But if you were to roll the lump sum into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and you don’t exhaust it in your lifetime, you could still have something to leave to your family members.

    •    Taxes. If you take the lump sum and roll the funds into your IRA, you control how much you’ll be taxed and when, based on the amounts you choose to withdraw and the date you begin taking withdrawals. (Keep in mind, though, that you must start taking a designated minimum amount of withdrawals from a traditional IRA when you reach age 70½. Withdrawals taken before age 59½ are subject to taxes and penalties.) But if you take a pension, you may have less control over your income taxes, which will be based on your monthly payments.

    •    Inflation. You could easily spend two or three decades in retirement — and during that time, inflation can really add up. To cite just one example, the average cost of a new car was $7,983 in 1982; 30 years later, that figure is $30,748, according to TrueCar.com. If your pension checks aren’t indexed for inflation, they will lose purchasing power over time. If you rolled over your lump sum into an IRA, however, you could put the money into investments offering growth potential, keeping in mind, of course, that there are no guarantees.

Before selecting either the lump sum or the monthly pension payments, weigh all the factors carefully to make sure your decision fits into your overall financial strategy. With a choice of this importance, you will probably want to consult with your financial and tax advisors. Ultimately, you may find that this type of offer presents you with a great opportunity — so take the time to consider your options.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Article written by Edward Jones, provided by C.J. Hash, AAMS®, financial advisor, Edward Jones, 410 N. 18th St., Centerville, 641-437-4250, 888-437-7670.





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