Cash Balance Pension Plans: Good News or Bad News?

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Arundhati Rao
Leslee Higgins
Sandra Taylor

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Abstract

Modification of defined benefit plans and conversion of defined contribution plans into Cash Balance Pension Plans (CBPs) has attracted a lot of attention recently.  A comparison of the three plans and an examination of 10 companies reveal a significant financial incentive in favor of CBPs.  The “good news” for a younger employee is level accrual of benefits and plan portability, and for stockholders, a smaller impact on net income.  CBPs bear “bad news” for older and/or less mobile employees and the stockholders when the plan assets perform poorly. 

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