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What’s your Pension Worth?

I wrote this when I was still in the Nortel Pension Plan, which did finally collapse. At the time my pension worth was quite high, but I didn’t know it. No I didn’t retire with it, but I did get to use it. I was lucky.

At Nortel, the Pension is about to take a dramatic left turn. It is going from a defined benefit to not being one.  The pension I was hoping to have when I retire may have limitations. Yes, thinking I might be able to retire, might be part of my problem. See the end of this article about the effects of this kind of dramatic change in benefits.

If where you work has a pension program, be it is a defined benefit or you contribute to it, it is important to know how much it is current value. Remember it is an ASSET of yours, that you need to include as part of your retirement calculations. I realize most folks are quite diligent at checking this, but I am just pointing out the importance of knowing fairly precisely what your (and if you are very lucky, you spouse’s) pension is worth. This is very important if you are thinking of changing jobs. You need to think about whether you will leave your money in that company’s pension plan (if you are allowed) or whether you should take the lump sum pay out and leave it. Hopefully you will wisely invest it, so you have a bigger nest egg for when you retire.

If you don’t take care of your financial world, no one else will. Further if folks know that you aren’t they’ll start trying to take advantage of you as well. Always be informed. At least once a year (if not more) find out just how much you are worth. Do a Balance Sheet of some kind and know where you stand. You may be disappointed that you aren’t further ahead, but sometimes you will be surprised at just where you are fiscally.

Now the other interesting thought for the day is that a lot of Canadian employees are depressed. Now this study was done in 2002, which was a rather depressing year for a lot of us, but depression and it’s side effects are dangerous. Seek help if you think you are depressed.

Around half a million Canadian workers experience depression and most of them say the symptoms interfere with their ability to work, according to a new study.

Data from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey, which focused on mental health and well-being, show that almost 4% of workers aged 25 to 64 had experienced depression in the 12 months before the survey.

What is Important?

Remember the things in life that are important: Family, Friends, and remember to have fun, because at the end of it all, that’s what it’s all about.


My Nortel pension did completely pay out. I was one of the lucky ones. I extracted the money put it into an LIRA. From there I bought into another pension, and now my retirement looks good.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Thanks for pointing out that pensions are something to consider as part of the financial picture – they are often forgotten as nothing more than “yet another deduction” on the pay cheque.

    Based upon your blog entry, I dug up my pension statements and entered my pension info into Quicken. Instantly my net worth shot up by tens of thousands of dollars! I can’t believe I hadn’t tracked that info before!

  2. _Awhile back, I tried moving a sluggish Locked-in pension balance out from the CIBC and into a different fund co. TWICE the paperwork was refused – 1st done at the big city CIBC, 2nd time by the fund co. When a third(!) form, from the rec’ng fund co., was highlighted for signature and mailed out, I just let it sit there – on the coffee table – for ages. Never did complete it.
    _As I am learning from another former employer’s employee shares, there’s a difference between being told you have money/benefits AND then actually getting to your money. Both amounts btw are ‘small potatoes’ yet continue to be perpetually aggravating.

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