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      Pension plan rollover options

      Throughout the years, more companies have been giving their employees the option to rollover their pension plan funds.

      Rich Tegge with Wealth Strategy Group says pension plans have become underfunded.

      "Forty percent of the employment base was in pension plans back in the early '80s, now that's down to 20 percent, and that is continuing to trend lower. What's happening is companies are wanting to have more clarity and control of future expenses," said Tegge.

      Employees at Marquette General Hospital now have a fully-funded pension plan, but can choose to roll it over.

      Gary Muller, MGH CEO, says a fully-funded pension plan was part of the transaction in the recent sale of the hospital to Duke Lifepoint.

      "There's a lot of money that our employees have that option with. We really are encouraging them to get the best advice they can. It's their money, it's all funded, and we want them to make great choices," said Muller.

      If you end your pension plan, you can transfer your funds to a defined or shared contribution plan, like a 401K. With a 401K, you provide funds from your paycheck, and your employer can match an amount to your plan. You can also choose to transfer your money to a separate individual retirement plan.

      An IRA is completely funded by you. Experts say taking out a lump sum of your pension plan in cash is not recommended unless you roll it over into another retirement plan like an annuity. Otherwise you will be subject to tax and penalty withdrawals.

      Since you may spend a lot more time planning your vacation than you do your retirement, experts say you need to understand all of your options before making a move.

      "Every person's situation is a little bit different. Generally what they are getting from their employer is generic broad information, that's why sitting with a financial adviser and going over their situation along with that offer would be the smart thing for them to do," Tegge said.

      Everyone is at different stages in their life, so bottom line, talk with a financial adviser.

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