General Question

serenade's avatar

Take a lump sum, annuity, or pension?

Asked by serenade (3779 points ) October 30th, 2012 from iPhone

My former employer is offering a one-time opportunity to disburse or reallocate my traditional pension (defined benefit). Here are my options:

Lump sum/rollover (subject to tax/withdrawal penalty): $5,000

Annuity: $22/month for life payable immediately

Pension: $140/month payable at age 65

I’m 39.5 years old and am more a grasshopper than an ant in terms of my financial planning.

What should I consider?

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11 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would take the roll over and reinvest it in an IRA so you don’t pay taxes or penalty.
The 22 a month isn’t very much and if you take that, it will be about 6,000 by the time you are 65. If you wait until you are 65 for the 140 a month, you may not be alive.
If you did leave the money where it is and take it out at 65, is it earning interest?

serenade's avatar

I don’t think it earns interest.. I think it’s a fixed benefit. Great comments. Wouldn’t a rollover also presuppose I’ll live until I can withdraw it, or are IRAs more flexible?

chyna's avatar

Not totally sure, but I’m thinking an IRA can be taken out at 59½. I’m sure someone else will know for sure. Also the IRA will hopefully be earning interest.

Shippy's avatar

I think @chyna ‘s advice is sound. As he said, you would not incur tax penalty in as you call them in the USA, an IRA. Here we call them RA’s. Plus you would enjoy a tax deduction in your personal income tax if you can also contribute to it monthly. Also if you do change jobs, you have this ‘portable retirement saving vehicle’. Retirement ages varies, as some countries allow age retirement as early as 55 next birthday.

If you left the fund where it was it would incur interest, (If it were in a defined contribution fund) at the level the fund reached (obviously as you did not add to it) plus if there were any surpluses in the funds you would also benefit from that. This normally also applies years after leaving the fund and taking the money. Again, my advice is not as sound as @chyna‘s since I am outside the USA. But basic principals are the same.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The IRA monies can be taken out anytime, subject to a 10 perecent penalty before 59½ years old. Could you roll it into a Roth IRA? Probably not but worth a shot.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Don’t take the money DIRECTLY. Have it moved to a retirement account without your touching a check or any other money. You maybe taxed and penalized if you take the money direct before you are 59½ years old.

filmfann's avatar

@chyna got it right

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @chyna.

Although, the $22 will likely add up to more than $5,000. If you live to be just 70, which is pretty young, you would have received $7920. But, that money will be taxed. The $5,000 will earn money while not being taxed, but will be taxed when you pull it out.

zenvelo's avatar

Put it in an IRA and then invest it in something like SPY that tracks the S&P 500 with little management cost and pays a quarterly dividend that you can re-invest.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

When making your decision bear in mind that by the time your 65 your 5 grand will buy less than it would now.

Take it now and invest.

Hopefully you will effectively end up with the same “amount” at least in the future.

Do everything you can to lessen the tax burden on this money.

It is perfectly acceptable behavior to reduce your tax liability DESPITE what you hear so many wealth haters saying these days.

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