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Old 09-13-2017, 05:54 PM
Location: The South
5,226 posts, read 3,637,448 times
Reputation: 7916


Worked for a public utility, thay had a retirement plan, they funded, monthly amount depended on salary and years worked. Also had a 401K with matching of 50% of the first 6%. I contributed all I was allowed. I was offered an early retirement at age 57 and it was very attractive. I get by. During all my working years I caught a lot of flack about saving and investing, but turns out it was worth it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:49 PM
1,316 posts, read 1,736,002 times
Reputation: 1696
I believe my contribution was 6% matched by the state. Many a time I thought about leaving but so glad I didn't since I was able to retire at 61 and feel blessed now to have that pension check every month.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:32 PM
1,210 posts, read 708,259 times
Reputation: 2143
Originally Posted by Crashj007 View Post
Nothing in this world is free. Social Security is funded by workers and employers. Self employed people pay both shares. 401 type plans are contributed to by employers and employees and management fees are paid by employers. Pension plans are funded by employers in some cases, and funded by payroll deductions or union dues in other cases. All of this money is held in closely monitored accounts, that are very hard to rob. Except Unions funds can be invested in shady deals and Congress has seen fit to raid SSA reserves to pay debts. And some employers and government bodies have just decided to not fund promised pensions [/rant]
Oh, wait, sorry. Your question was are they "free"? The fact is the money, of whatever source, was taken out of a potential wage and contributed to a benefit, so no, it is not free.
In my specific case, I've been paying into SSA funds since my first job until my last, my corporate pensions were employer funded, and my various 401 accounts were built up from employer contributions combined with payroll deductions. I also have several IRAs and annuities which were personally funded, some before tax, some after tax.
You used the word "docked" which has no meaning in the world of benefits. Docked is when you don't show up. I imagine what you are thinking about is did I contribute money to the pension/IRA/401/etc., system directly from my paycheck as a monthly line item on my stub? In some jobs yes, in others, no. When it was not a line item you can be sure that my employer was able to obtain my services for less because they provided a benefit.
I do not think I ever had a job where I was not provided with some sort of contributory health care. (Meaning we paid part) The exception being when I was self employed or a business owner. Dental care was rare. Life insurance paid by the employer was common.
"Next week, 'Who pays for your Healthcare?' "
Yeah, whatever, I think my pension was free. You make it too complicated.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:15 AM
Location: RVA
2,167 posts, read 1,266,787 times
Reputation: 4460
Agree^^^. So many people love to expound on the soapbox and restate the obvious. The OP just asked a question, and the majority knew what she/he meant. I am more intrigued by how many respondents were/are government related employees! Has anyone ever asked what % in CD on the Retirement forum matxh that description?

And while I get a pension, and a good one, IMHO, non paycheck contributory, I have to take issue with the "get paid more for the same job" in the private sector. Anyone ever get a higher paying job as a private fire fighter, health care worker, LEO, soldier etc, etc
? Yeah, I don't think so.

There are always the occasional exceptions, but thats like saying "I could have been a CEO ", every circumstance is unique. I worked for public utilites for 15 years, a degreed engineer, some as a contractor and some direct, and the contractor pay was only slightly better than direct. But while direct, I decided that I was going to take a shot at those higher salaries, now that I had so much experience and my field was in demand. I could invest the difference and control my wealth and destiny. 3 different jobs later, I went back to the utility I left at first chance, with far superior benefits, an almost matching salary, amd picked up my pension vesting where I had left off 6 years earlier. There is no freaking way I could ever have matched what my pension will be by investing the small amount more I MIGHT have made.

There MAY be more opportunities in the private sector, but you have to be lucky, in the right place at the right time, know the right people etc....just like in any other job. I could have made a lot more in the same company I work for now, if I wanted to sacrifice my time, and move every 2-3 years for assignments that "prove" you are a company man and have what it takes to be promoted to manger, director, even VP.....MAYBE. Job and personality/ambition/knack fit combinations are never guaranteed. "I know someone..and he makes..." proves nothing.

In 1984 I had the exact same position as a friend of mine in a different utility that NOW happens to be a VP at the utility I work for now. I am every bit as capable as an engineer that he was, and when we talk today, there is little really different between us except he has zero life outside of his work now. He hobknobs with upper management. He took assignments and chances, changed jobs multiple times, etc, etc, to locations I would rather not go to, as well as probably took on responsiblities I don't know if I could have done. He looks 10 years older than me and makes 5 times what I make, I am sure.

Is it worth it?

So I chose to stay in a lower stress, time is more my own position and will have a net income in retirement equal to what I was making when working, (since no FICA, MED, savings deductions, etc, which mean lower taxes as well) which is quite comfortable enough for me. Slow & steady vs risk reward.

Last edited by Perryinva; 09-14-2017 at 06:29 AM..
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:47 PM
1,210 posts, read 708,259 times
Reputation: 2143
Our pensions are from a Steel mill and a Electric utility. The companies funded them.

We contributed to 401ks. No match. Whenever we could, any extra bonuses went into the 401ks, or if that option was not available we'd increase the % contribution to equal it.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:26 PM
Location: Tennessee
34,691 posts, read 33,695,295 times
Reputation: 51914
I'm a CSRS (old system) federal retiree. When I went to work for the federal government in 1972, it did not pay as much as the private sector. I retired with 34 years of service at age 55 with no breaks in employment. Started out as a Grade 3 and ended as a Grade 14 with various job changes but all with the same employer. I got my college degree at night while working full time during the day. Like you pay for social security my paycheck was deducted for pension contributions and Medicare. I don't get SS. I also contributed (direct debited) to a Thrift Savings Plan with no matching government funds. I currently get and pay for Medicare and kept my government health insurance (payments deducted from salary and pension) as a supplement.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:22 PM
Location: R.I.
979 posts, read 606,070 times
Reputation: 4243
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Started out as a Grade 3 and ended as a Grade 14 with various job changes but all with the same employer.
Wow, I am very impressed. I have known a few colleagues that started out as 3s and made it to 11 or 12 before retiring, but don't think I have know one that traversed the heights of the GS scale as you have. Probably the reason is there is not much upward mobility opportunities for GS employees within the VA healthcare system.

Being an R.N. I fall under the nursing Title 38 pay scale which is IMO even more difficult to get grade promoted. Most of the nurses I work with including myself tapped out at VNII/14, and to get to VNIII it is akin to reaching the summit of Mt. Everest. It is what it is, and I will continue to jump through hoops for the patients in my care, but my days of serving on committees and the like that rarely produces positive outcomes are long over because the time and effort extended being involved in these endeavors rarely ever translates into a few additional $$$.
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