Pension Plans for Seniors

Pension plans in the United States can be broadly categorized into Retirement Plan (pension offered by private employers) and Public Employee Pension Plan (pension plan offered by the government).
At the beginning of the financial career a person needs to have a proper pension plan calculator and a retirement planner, so that he/she has the fund to lead a comfortable financial life, even when he/she is unable to make a livelihood.

Retirement Plans

A retirement pension plan is a financial arrangement intended to substitute employment earnings at the time of retirement. These plans can be arranged by insurance companies, employers, the government, trade unions, or other organizations. Congress has conveyed a wish to support sensible retirement planning by offering feasible tax treatment to a broad range of plans. Retirement plans in the United States are delineated in tax terminologies by the IRS code and are governed by the rules of the Department of Labor under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Retirement plans are categorized as defined contribution or defined benefit in accordance with how benefits are calculated. Under a defined benefit (or pension) plan, benefits are worked out by utilizing a set method that usually takes into consideration final disbursement  and service with an employer, and disbursals are carried out from a trust fund, particularly devoted to the scheme. Under a defined contribution plan, the disbursement relies on both the sum of money contributed into an individual account and the performance of the investment vehicles used. Some categories of retirement plans like cash balance plans blend characteristics of both defined contribution and defined benefit plans.

Defined benefit plans

A defined benefit plan is typically known as a retirement fund in the United States. It disburses benefits from a trust fund utilizing a set method laid down by the sponsor of the plan. Stated otherwise, the plan delineates a benefit which will be disbursed at the time of retirement. The legal explanation of defined benefit covers all pension plans, which are not defined contribution plans and hence do not require individual accounts.

Defined contribution plans

As laid down by the Internal Revenue Code Section 414, a defined contribution plan is a plan, which is sponsored by different companies with pension plans by opening an individual account for every employee. The accumulated benefit from this kind of plan is exclusively attributable to contributions put into an individual account and investment profits on those sponsored amounts, with a reduction of any losses and expenditures/costs. The contributions are vested (for instance, in the stock market), and the yields on the investment are subtracted from or credited to the individual's account. At the time of retirement, the member's account is utilized to offer retirement benefits, frequently by buying an annuity.

 Hybrid and Cash Balance Plans Hybrid plan arrangements blend the attributes of defined contribution and defined benefit plan arrangements. On the whole, they are considered as defined benefit plans for accounting, taxation, and regulatory purposes. Under defined benefit plans, the risk investment is mostly carried by the sponsor of the plan. Under defined contribution plans, the benefits are calculated with the help of a speculative account balance, and are normally disbursed as cash balances on completion of employment. These traits make these plans handier than conventional defined benefit plans and possibly more lucrative to a highly movable labor force. A characteristic hybrid plan is the Cash Balance Plan, wherein the estimated account balance of the employee increases through some predetermined interest rate and yearly employer contribution.

Qualified Retirement Plans

Qualified plans get feasible tax treatment and are governed by ERISA. The technical meaning of qualified does not conform to the usually used dissimilarity. For instance, 403(b) plans are not regarded qualified plans, however are handled and taxed more or less similarly. The expression qualified has special meaning concerning defined benefit plans.

Nonqualified Plans

Plans that don’t satisfy the rules necessary to get feasible tax treatment are regarded nonqualified and are let off from the limitations imposed on qualified plans. These plans are usually used to offer extra benefits to important or highly-remunerated employees like officers and executives. Examples are 457(f) plans and SERP (Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans).  

Public Sector Pension Plans

In the U.S., public sector pension plans are provided by state, federal, and local governments. They are offered to majority, if not all, public sector employees. Usually, the contributions made by the employer to these plans are vested after a certain period of time. These arrangements may be defined-contribution or defined-benefit pension plans. However, the defined benefit pension plans have been most commonly implemented by government agencies in the United States during the late 20th century. A few local governments do not provide defined-benefit pension plans; nevertheless they may provide a defined contribution plan. In a number of states in the U.S., public employee pension plans are named as Public Employee Retirement Systems (PERS).

Public Sector Pension Plans in the U.S. states

Every one of the 50 states in the U.S. has as a minimum one retirement system for its workers. As of 2002, there are 1.39 million part-time and 3.68 million full-time state-level-government resident workers.
Alabama - Retirement Systems of Alabama
Alaska - Alaska Retirement System
Arkansas – At present, Arkansas has six retirement plans which encompass most employees at the state and local level: Public Employees Retirement, Judicial Retirement, State Police Retirement, State Highway Employees Retirement, Teacher Retirement and District Judges Retirement.
Arizona - Public Safety Personnel Retirement System of Arizona and Arizona State Retirement System
Colorado - Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association
California - CalSTRS (California State Teachers' Retirement System) and CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement System)
Illinois - State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS)
Connecticut - Connecticut Teachers' Retirement Board
Minnesota - Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota
Massachusetts - Massachusetts State Board of Retirement
New Hampshire - New Hampshire Retirement System
Nevada - Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada]
New York - New York State Local Police and Fire Retirement System, New York State and Local Retirement System, New York State Teachers' Retirement System
New Mexico - Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA ) of New Mexico
Oklahoma - Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System
Ohio - Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Pennsylvania - Public School Employees' Retirement System and State Employees' Retirement System
Oregon - Oregon Public Employees Retirement System
Wisconsin - Wisconsin Dept of Employee Trust Funds
Utah - Utah Retirement Systems
You need to have a proper retirement calculator to find out which pension plans are the most suitable for you. As per your suitability you need to find out whether a private pension plan or any other would give you maximum benefit and take action accordingly.