If you are working for a business that provides you with a pension, you want to make sure that you actively participate in taking care and keeping track of your pension plan. You don't want to be passive about your pension plan; after all, your pension plan is the ticket to a comfortable retirement and future. Here are some tips on how to best track retirement pension plans.
#1 Obtain a Copy of the Summary Plan Description
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have a physical copy of your summary plan description or SPD. This document details all the different parts and functions of your plan. You are going to want to make sure that you have a physical copy of this plan, so in the future, if questions arise, you always have a physical document that you can rely on and look to for answers. You should make sure that your accountant also has access to this document so that they can also understand the way that your plan works.
#2 Always Check Your Individual Benefits Statements
Your pension plan should issue individual benefit statements. Do not get in the habit of just filing these benefit statements or throwing them away. Sit down and spend a few minutes looking carefully over each benefit statement that you are given. Check each statement and make sure that your name and information is accurate on the statement. Make sure that the statement shows the correct number of years that you worked for the company. Make sure that the contributions that you made that are shown on the statement are accurate as well.
If you spot errors, reach out to your pension company right away to correct these errors. Make sure that you have documents to back-up your corrections.
#3 Keep Your Own Records
Make sure that you keep your own records. You need to keep track of your employment history and yearly contributions to the retirement plan. You should also keep copies of all notices and documents that are related to your retirement plan and benefits, including any changes to the plan.
Having your own records will help you if something ever goes wrong. Having your own records will also allow you to keep track of the benefits that you will receive from your pension plan and will help you plan more accurately for your retirement.
#4 Keep an Eye On Funding Status
Not all pension plans end up delivering the benefits that they promise. Make sure that you check and review the funding notice that should come with each annual report. Make sure that your pension continues to receive and keep up with funding. That way, if your pension plan starts to lose funding, you can make alternative plans.
If you have a pension plan, make sure that you take an active role in keeping track of your pension plan and work with an accountant to actively plan for your retirement as a whole.