Friday, February 24, 2006

So no matter what option I take, I see my take home pay dropping

From the 2/24/2006 LANL NewsBulletin:
_________________________________________

Feb. 17, 2006

Total compensation plan options

So, here I am thinking that with the change to Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and with the number of years with the Lab (33+), I would be sitting in the catbird seat and everything would be great. Now I find out that no matter what option I take I will be penalized.

Option 1. Retire early - If I take this option then I would have to take a significant reduction in salary. Seventy-three percent is nothing to sneeze at, but with one kid in college and another in ninth grade this is not an option.

Option 2. Straight transfer to TCP1 - Not a bad way to go except now I am one of the 400+ that do not pay in to Social Security. With Option 2 I would have to, so I would again, have to take a significant hit to my salary.

Option 3. Go inactive and become a new employee of LANS LLC, retire within 120 days, retain my health insurance and yes, double dip for several years. With the way it is set up now, even if I retired June 1, 2006, I would have to pay all my health care premiums and that would be a significant portion of my take home pay.

So no matter what option I take, I see my take home pay dropping. I know that I am not the only one in this boat, and I know several people who pay into Social Security were going to try to double dip. I feel that I have been slam dunked. Everyone who felt that going inactive and transferring to LANS LLC and hoped to keep their health insurance needs to send their comments by e-mail to inputonlansbenefits@doeal.gov.

--Allen Schmiedicke



Comments:
I have seen my pay (purchasing power) dropping for the last couple of years. I think with LANS it will not be much better. If you are over 50 with a substantial amount of service credit and want to keep working I would go inactive vested in UCRP. Last year the COLA under UCRP was 2%. Our salary increases were barely that. I think what quite a few people do not realize is that if you are inactive in UCRP your HAPC increases at the same percentage as the COLA.
 
Welcome to LANS! I hope you enjoy your stay.

(You all made too much money before, but we've fixed that now.)

-Sam
 
Well a couple of things.

First you made a choice not to pay Social Security. Choices have consequences.. some good and some bad. You have had higher take home pay for a while because of no Social Security payments and now that choice has consequences that should have been obvious when you made it.

Second, you and pretty much everyone else at LANL are seeing what a lot of other people are seeing in this country. Know that you are not alone and (I think) 40 million other Americans will be not having health insurance because they retired.

You are also going to see that all the promised retirement benefits are going to fizzle one by one as people realize that the government can't borrow anymore from next year to pay this years bills. This one has been the choise of everyone in this country.. we have believed it when our politicians said "dont worry about it." and we voted them in again and again because we didnt want to worry about it.
 
Also tell NNSA to ask LANS LLC if they have started asking select LANL employees to stay on and, if they plan to retire from UC, implying that an offer (negotiable even)will be forthcoming. This is happening folks. Can anyone spell FRAUD?
 
GG sums it up well IMHO.
 
Can't retire early? If you can't bag it with 73% of your HAPC and retiree medical coverage, then I have to conclude you have done no financial planning whatsoever. Do you even want to guess how many people would be leaving if they could hit 50%?

As far as SS, welcome to America. If you analyze what you will get for putting in the minimum 40 qtrs (10 yrs) for retirement benefits under SS, you will find that your return is far, far greater than those of us who have paid in for 40 years. All those quarters you worked as kid before coming to LANL count by the way.

The conclusion among my colleagues would be for you to retire and try to get rehired.
 
OK - Right now I am looking at fully leaving the Lab in May and taking lumpsum and recareering somehow - maybe being an entrepreneur or consulting. My wife will take annuity so we have retiree medical. Every time we think we have this figured out someone posts another comment that makes us question our decisions. We have a meeting next week with benefits to start paperwork, but our HR benefits people don't seem to have all the answers.

So - someone please explain again to me. What is the 120 days (or 90 days?) all about if I go inactive vested and then stay with LLC w/TCP2? I assume, because I can't find it anywhere, that once you go inactive vested you can't take lumpsum. Annuity is only choice. Is this true? Again - I wouldn't need medical, but I do want lumpsum, if possible and I'd stay with LLC in a new employee status for a bit to get my bearings and to buy me a little more time to steer a new future.

SOMEONE PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME MORE.
 
Butthead - As I understand it you can elect inactive vested in UCRP, continue employment with LANS which puts you in TCP/PPP2. Down the road you can elect either the lump sum or annuity from UCRP. Only those people rolling over into TCP/PP1 loose the lump sum option.
 
I understand most of this and the retirement handbook does say you can take lump sum out of inactive vested. But what is this 90 or 120 day thing all about? And is there anything about going inactive vested, going to the LLC in TCP2 at same job and salary (for now), and then taking lumpsum 30, 60, 365 days later? Other than loss of equivalent vacation, sick, medical etc. I have 3200 hours of sick and use or lose vacation that would roll over. And my medical would be with my wife's annuity retirement. And hey, if they do a RIF in x months, I'm entitled to severance and then take my retirement. Is there something I'm not seeing here that I should be seeing.
Thanks
 
Oh - and one more... see put me out in the yard working and I have lots of time to think..
If you are inactive vested and you die while inactive, what is the status of your monies. To me - since you are inactive your beneficiery pretty well loses everything. Is that how anyone else sees it?
 
If you analyze what you will get for putting in the minimum 40 qtrs (10 yrs) for retirement benefits under SS, you will find that your return is far, far greater than those of us who have paid in for 40 years. All those quarters you worked as kid before coming to LANL count by the way.

This statement is misleading. If you have a pension from salary where you didn't pay SS, any SS benefits are subject to the "windfall elimination provision" and will be getting quite a bit less that the default shown on your SS statement. Check it out!
 
I do not understand the logic if any employee would be willing to hand over 33+ years of service to the uncertain future of TCP1. Unless truely desperate, that dog won't hunt.
 
With 33+ years of service, your decision is very easy.
My God, man, you're going to get 73% of your current salary
with retirement, the UC pension, plus cheap health care!
Most of the remaining staff would kill to be in your lucky
position. Retire, and enjoy the rest of your life! If
you later feel to need to keep working, try to come back
as a retiree. If you can't survive on 73% of your current
salary at this late point in your life, then you need to
re-evaluate your current life style and pare down on the
non-essentials.
 
Yeah, moron.

You are a true conehead if you have to have that one spelled out to you.

G.
 
Yo guys - I think he is in the same arena as a lot of us. He is aware of the situation. We were sold a bill of goods - work for us this long and until this age and you will get this much. Now that is all out the window. Yea - everyone should have planned better 10 or 15 years ago. But we were PROMISED a return for our investment in time and career. That's defined benefit. The rules have changed - not by us but by UC and DOE.
Everyone now wants some discussion. We all feel betrayed and abandoned. We are all looking for some fellowship and some advice. Advice sure isn't forthcoming from DOE/NNSA/UC/LANS/LANL. We need to be helping each other not calling each other morons or idiots. We all made decisions based on promises. Given what I now know would I have done thing different from 30 years ago when I came here - hell yes. But I can't undo the decisions I made based on promises. Time to help each other. I ask for help at decifering all the BS we've been fed. Let's work together here....

No one is a moron.. we all know when we've made mistakes... let's get through this together.
 
I also hear about special deals being cut for the industrial partners. They have time with their orgs where they have earned more vacation and sick than they would get with the LANS and they have been told that deals are being made that will allow them to roll into the LANS "special".

Anyone hear anything collaborating?
 
Butthead,

The 120 days he is mentioning I think is particular to his case. I am guessing that he could in his case go inactive and 120 days later retire. However I do not think this is a general case.

I would strongly urge you to find a good retirement specialist before you make your decision. Anyone from H&R block, Fidelity, to the specialists who have noted on this list can help you much more than ANY advice you see here. Some will give you the advice for free and others will do it under a fee. However you should do this for better piece of mind than going to HR without any knowledge.
 
Butthead is level headed but a bit generous. We all know morons exist, present company excluded. If you took advantage of 403b and DCP one can be quite comfortable on significantly less than 73%. Don't panic. Consider your options (but don't go crazy trying to milk every last dime). Make a decision.
There is lots of life worth living outside of paradise.
 
Read the UCRP plan booklets. The plan rules say that if an employee separates from UC employment, they can retire within 120 days with full benefits. This means they will get the medical benefit and can use sick leave for service credit. The clinker with transferring to LANS as an inactive employee is that the sick leave is transferred to LANS and is therefore not available to count as service credit.
 
“Option 3. Go inactive and become a new employee of LANS LLC, retire within 120 days, retain my health insurance and yes, double dip for several years. With the way it is set up now, even if I retired June 1, 2006, I would have to pay all my health care premiums and that would be a significant portion of my take home pay.”

Let’s take a look at Option 3
Retire at 73% pay with employer medical benefits paid for family of 4
Transfer to LANS TCP2 at 92.35% pay (loss due to paying SS and Medicare tax)
Get 3.5% employer non-matching contribution to 401K
Get 100% match on first 6% of member voluntary pre-tax contribution to 401K

Result = total of 174.85% pay!

I wish I could do as well! It looks like a pretty simple choice Allen.
 
I haven't seen anywhere in the pdf retirement booklet a statement that if you go "inactive vested" that you retain any of the 120-day/lump-sum/medical options available now. It talks about "separation", and then drawing your benefits within 120 days (or else lose medical). But "inactive, vested" was not a concept that existed when the retirement booklet was written (is there a new one I'm missing?). It's therefore unclear to me that you retain any of the 120-day/lump-sum/medical options if you go "inactive, vested" instead of "separate". This seems an issue requiring clarification, and until then "option 3" is not something that should be assumed is available. But what do I know?
 
ted -
"inactive vested" = separation
If you do not retire within 120 days you lose: medical benefits & sick leave service credit.
You can choose at some future date to take the lump sum or annuity.
 
> "inactive vested" = separation
> If you do not retire within 120 days you lose: medical benefits & sick leave service credit.
> You can choose at some future date to take the lump sum or annuity.
Could you pls point me to where this is spelled out?
I must have missed it. If it's spelled out then good, if not then it should be clarified whether this equivalence exists or not.
Thanks
 
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