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Pension or LIRA? A decision (redux)

One of the few good (read fortunate) decisions I made was to remove my money from the Nortel Pension and put it into a LIRA for holding purposes after I got laid off in 2008. I wondered (aloud) whether I had made the right decision, but in hindsight, it was a perfect decision (i.e. Pension or LIRA ).

Show me the Money?

pension or LIRA
Now that is some Ca$h (thanks to Bank of Canada)

For those who have read for a while, I had to decide about whether to leave my Pension in my former employer’s pension fund (which is underfunded) or to take a cash settlement and transfer most of the contents into a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) (and take the rest as a cash settlement).

I got a lot of advice from different folk about whether I felt confident enough to invest the money wisely enough to mimic or improve on the growth I might get in the Pension fund. However, in the end, I did not trust that my former employer will:

  1. Exist in 5 years
  2. Whomever buys, or takes over them will not replenish the pension fund short fall

So I have decided to take my money out and move it to a LIRA (and a small part to a TFSA and whatever else I can into my RRSP, thus the Pension or LIRA -> LIRA).

I tried to show as much diligence as I could to the documentation that I had to submit because the default answer if I do not submit my request in time is to keep the money in the (underfunded) Pension. I had the Investment Counsellor at the bank that set up the LIRA check over to make sure all the forms had the correct info, and then I had Mrs. C8j check everything over as well. There is no point in making this big decision and not being careful with the forms.

I mailed the forms using Registered Canada Post delivery, so I have a tracking number and know when the papers were delivered (I can’t be too careful here). Paranoid? Maybe, but again, it would be imprudent to trust regular mail with these forms.

Luckily the forms got there when they did, and I got the money out a few weeks before the Pension announced a sizeable shortfall, and they started discounting all pensions. As a bit of background info, here is what Nortel’s demise looked like graphically.

pension or LIRA
Graphically, the Death of Nortel

Feel Free to Comment

  1. As employees approach the age of lock-in (age 55 in some situations) they question if they should leave before age 55 and unlock the money and put it in a LIRA. Tough question for a perhaps “gold plated” pensions…but these can fold too…. Not sure what the answer is.

  2. I see the cosmic forces of balance are at play. I took the LIRA and should have stayed with the company pension. Ah well, I don’t regret it even though financially I made the wrong choice.

  3. When I first read your advent calendar, I thought it said Wii, from Nintendo. Unfortunately, it’s a will. Mortality is knocking, Merry Christmas!

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