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Does PG&E’s Recent Bankruptcy Announcement Scare You?

Here Are The Things All Employees Should Be Aware of Regardless of Where You Work

By Justin D. Rucci, CFP® 

As many of you are likely aware, PG&E recently announced a bankruptcy filing as the result of roughly $30B in potential liabilities stemming from recent California wildfires. Regardless of whether or not you work for a public utility, it is only natural to have questions around what to expect or what precautions you should be taking with your own money. With that said, below are some items you will want to remain cognizant of should more wildfires occur or things change.

Things to Think About:

401k

While your 401(k) account is technically “tied” to your employer, your contributions and vested matching contributions will not be at creditor risk should your company go bankrupt. As part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974(ERISA), your 401(k) assets are required by law to be held in trust separate from the company. This means the assets are not commingled with the company’s general operating funds and are not accessible to the company should they need operating capital or funds to pay creditors. Your investments within the 401(k) are always subject to your own investment risk, so be sure to contact Warren Street Wealth Advisors if you would like guidance on the plan’s investment options.

Pension

Pension plans are another common concern for those worried about their company potentially filing for bankruptcy. Luckily ERISA comes into play here as well. As part of the enacting of ERISA, a government agency titled the Pension Benefit & Guaranty Corp.(PBGC) was formed. This agency is designed to step in to pay benefits should a private pension plan fall to bankruptcy. This agency will step in to pay receipt of your pension benefits at normal retirement age, annuity benefits to your survivors, disability benefits, and most early retirement benefits. The PBGC will not however pay for severance packages, vacation pay, or similar benefits. While benefits are guaranteed by the PBGC, they do enforce limits on what is covered by the agency, meaning it is possible that you would not necessarily receive your entire benefit. Maximum benefit guarantees can vary, but more information is available on the PBGC website here.

Retirement

How should you time your retirement if you are worried about your company going bankrupt? The short answer is, you probably shouldn’t dictate your retirement decision based solely on the possibility of a corporate bankruptcy. While the possibility of benefits being cut and severance package offerings are very real for companies that are struggling financially, often times it makes sense to take an individualized approach to analyze the situation before making a rash decision on retirement. Pension plans may change from a defined benefit annuity stream to a cash balance “lump sum” in some cases, but this does not necessarily mean it is time to retire. I would recommend speaking to an advisor should you have questions about your specific company and situation to determine what the best course of action may be for you.

What Should I Do?

For those interested in learning more about retirement and would like to meet with professional advisors, Warren Street Wealth Advisors hosts many events throughout the year. You can view our upcoming events here.

If you have any questions, contact info@warrenstreetwealth.com or call 714-876-6200. We are well versed in interpreting company benefits and are happy to talk through any of your questions or concerns.


Justin D. Rucci, CFP®
Wealth Advisor
Warren Street Wealth Advisors

 

 

 

Justin is an Investment Advisor Representative of Warren Street Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor. The information contained herein does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice but is limited to the dissemination of general information. A professional advisor should be consulted before implementing any of the strategies or options presented.

Any investments discussed carry unique risks and should be carefully considered and reviewed by you and your financial professional. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals may materially alter the performance, strategy, and results of your portfolio. Historical performance results for investment indexes and/or categories, generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges or the deduction of an investment-management fee, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. Economic factors, market conditions, and investment strategies will affect the performance of any portfolio and there are no assurances that it will match or outperform any particular benchmark. Nothing in this commentary is a solicitation to buy, or sell, any securities, or an attempt to furnish personal investment advice. We may hold securities referenced in the blog and due to the static nature of the content, those securities held may change over time and trades may be contrary to outdated posts.

 

Sources

https://www.bankrate.com/retirement/your-pension-when-the-unexpected-happens/

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2010/12/14/what-happens-to-my-pension-if-my-company-goes-bankrupt-

The Retirement Handbook

The Retirement Handbook  (click to download)

Retirement is coming soon, and you should be excited. However, you might have so many questions and concerns about retirement that you’re more nervous than anything else.

We get it.

At Warren Street Wealth Advisors, we’ve helped countless people, from families to business owners, plan for their retirement and reach their financial goals. We put together this Retirement Handbook to help you on your way to a successful retirement.


 

1. Have a Plan

Nothing else on this list matters if you don’t have a personalized financial plan.

Having a plan not only lays out the destination, but it shows you the steps you need to take along the way. It’s your roadmap to a successful retirement.

2. No Seriously, Have a Plan

Having a plan is half the battle. 

You can be tax savvy and an investment genius, but if you don’t have a plan for retirement or any financial goal, chances are you’ll miss the mark.

3. Say “Goodbye” to Debt

Excess debt is the biggest destroyer of retirement dreams. 

If you have excess debt, then formulate a plan to eliminate it as soon as possible. It’s not the end of the world, but it might be time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Imagine how rewarding it will be once you have freed yourself from excess debt.

4. Budget it Out

Targeting your annual expenses is key to understanding if you have enough money to retire.

It’s no fun to build a budget. We get it.

However, knowing where your money is going on a monthly basis may help you identify where you can save. Get rid of the stuff you hate and keep more of the things you love. Love your bowling league? Keep it. Hate your cable or phone bill? Shop it around or eliminate it all together.

Not sure where to start with your budget? No problem. Download our retirement toolkit and utilize the Budget Template to help get you started.

5. Build Up Emergency Savings

We’re always optimistic about the future, but sometimes life takes surprising and difficult turns. Wise financial planning means being prepared for those situations.

Having cash available can help you through some of these hard times. Maybe the car breaks down or you need to find a new job. Having six months of cash on hand in a savings account can help out and keep you prepared for life’s ups and downs.

6. Save ’til it Hurts.

401(k). 403(b). 457(b). IRA. SEP. Simple. Deferred Comp. Roth.

Max it out.

Are you putting money aside for the long term? Does your employer have a 401(k) program? Do you have a personal investment account you contribute to?

Whatever it is, make sure you continue to think long-term for that beautiful retirement you’ve been dreaming of.

7. Wait Until Full Retirement Age to Take Social Security

There are all kinds of articles out there about what to do about your Social Security. Let us boil it all down: you don’t have to take it at 62!

When we build a financial plan, we calculate all options for optimizing Social Security, no matter how many times we do it, one thing becomes clear every time: it’s usually best to wait until your full retirement age to take Social Security.

There is also plenty of evidence to support wait until age 70 too as the 32% increase in benefit can be worth the wait. It’s ultimately your decision, and we suggest weighing your options before committing to collecting a 25-30% reduced benefit at age 62.

8. Have a Plan

Yep. Said it again.

If you’re not sure where to start with your financial plan, that’s OK. We can help.


 

Schedule a free consultation to talk through your finances and take the first step toward building a confident retirement.

Warren Street Wealth Advisors LLC. is a Registered Investment Advisor. The information posted here represents opinions and is not meant as personal or actionable advice to any individual, corporation, or other entity. Any investments discussed carry unique risks and should be carefully considered and reviewed by you and your financial professional. Nothing in this commentary is a solicitation to buy, or sell, any securities, or an attempt to furnish personal investment advice. We may hold securities referenced in the blog and due to the static nature of content, those securities held may change over time and trades may be contrary to outdated posts.

The Retirement Handbook: Southern California Edison Edition

 

The Retirement Handbook: Southern California Edison Edition

Retirement is just around the corner, and you should be excited. But some of us have many questions and concerns about retirement causing us to feel more nervous than anything else.

We understand these feelings.

At Warren Street Wealth Advisors, we’ve helped hundreds of Southern California Edison retirees navigate this crucial time. In the process, we’ve learned about SCE’s retirement and employee benefits programs inside and out. We’ve put together our Southern California Edison Retirement Handbook as a guide for you.


 

1. Have a Plan

Nothing else on this list matters if you don’t have a personalized financial plan.

A personalized financial plan is the roadmap to your comfortable retirement. You can know your benefits inside-out and be clever about taxes and investments, but if you don’t have a roadmap for navigating your retirement, you’ll never feel confident along the way.


 

Schedule a free consultation to talk through your finances and take the first step toward building a confident retirement.

Warren Street Wealth Advisors LLC. is a Registered Investment Advisor. The information posted here represents opinions and is not meant as personal or actionable advice to any individual, corporation, or other entity. Any investments discussed carry unique risks and should be carefully considered and reviewed by you and your financial professional. Nothing in this commentary is a solicitation to buy, or sell, any securities, or an attempt to furnish personal investment advice. We may hold securities referenced in the blog and due to the static nature of content, those securities held may change over time and trades may be contrary to outdated posts.