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Worried about the stock market slide? Here's why Pension Fund members shouldn't be.

News of a stock market correction of 10% or more has dominated global news outlets this past week. As a Pension Fund member, what do you need to know or do?

The answer: Stay the course. In market downturns such as those in 1929, 1987, 2001 and 2008, those who stayed the course have recovered nicely. The worst reaction to a downturn is to sell when the values of holdings in your portfolio are down. It may take several years, but those values will recover.

What about my Tax-Deferred Retirement Account (TDRA) and Benefit Accumulation Account (BAA)? The good news is that these plans are designed to provide a base rate (3-6% for TDRAs and 1-6% for BAAs), plus add Good Experience Credits (GECs) in any year that is possible. The base rate for your TDRA is currently 3.5%, and the base rate for BAA is currently 2.5%. By design, the value of your account won't go down even in times of volatile markets. It's possible that your 2015 rate of return may not go above the base rate, but it won't go into negative territory.

Will my monthly pension payments decline? No. Your pension is based on its benefit formula, not on market performance. Your monthly pension won't decrease. Additionally, Special Apportionments (funded increases to your pension sometimes awarded to Pension Fund pension accounts) are based on excess reserves. It's possible that the market decline will decrease reserves (depending on what happens in the market before year end), which may mean that a Special Apportionment may not be awarded next year. However, the last two years provided Special Apportionments of 6.5% and 3.5% respectively, well above the rate of inflation in the U.S.

How can Pension Fund hold the account balances with this market volatility? Your Pension Fund staff, Board, and money managers use the well seasoned long-term strategies, including diversification, to be able to provide returns that mitigate volatility. Reserves for each of the types of accounts are key to this strong and smart strategy. With approximately $3 billion under management, Pension Fund has well qualified professionals working constantly to protect those who serve.

Should I wait to open up a new account? This is an excellent time to open up an account. Pension Fund, like all competent and well-trained financial advisors, doesn't try to 'time' the market. You should open up an account and save more for retirement any time you can put away a little more.

My other account balances are down right now. Should I rollover to Pension Fund? Pension Fund welcomes rollovers that are eligible. Consider waiting until your account balance recovers and then roll over funds to Pension Fund. The next time the market sees a correction, you can be confident of your balance in your account!

Contact Pension Fund for more information on enrollment and rollovers today at 866.495.PFCC or pfcc1@pensionfund.org.