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Your pension fund administrator (PFA) will take your questions and give you all the information you need to make the right choices as you prepare for life after work. Furthermore, here are 10 things you should know about your pensions before you retire.
1. What’s the due date and payment mode?
If you choose to be paid monthly, your PFA will pay your money to your bank account on or before the 24th day of each month. You don’t have to worry about cheques or any long process. Receiving your pension will be completely convenient for you.
2. What happens in the event of death?
If one is on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and dies either in active service or after retirement, the next-of-kin as provided by the deceased to the PFA will be contacted to provide relevant documents for processing the contributions. The contributions will be paid to the named beneficiary in the WILL of the Letter of Administration.
3. Can you change your next of kin after you retire?
This can be done at anytime. The change of personal information form will ideally be found on the website of your PFA. Download the form, fill it and submit to your PFA for actioning.
4. How much can you take at once when you retire?
As lumpsum, a retiree is entitled to an amount not less than 25% and not more than 50%. This amount is however dependent on the fact that the retiree is able to collect a monthly pensions of not less than 50% of his/her last salary (computed based on the housing, basic and transport) for a estimated period of atleast 18 years.
5. How soon can you start getting your pension after you retire?
The process of documentation actually starts six months before you retire. For FG employees they have to go for the Bond verification exercise organised by PENCOM. This exercise basically is to enable PENCOM consolidate their account and ensure their accrued rights are paid immediately they retire. For Private sector employees, your PFA has to confirm that all contributions due to you have been made. This process is called ‘consolidation of account’. After this is done, the process of actual payment should take about 3 weeks.
6. Can you choose how you want to be paid?
The programmed withdrawal means you get to choose your payment interval by yourself. You can choose to be paid your pension monthly or quarterly depending on what you think works best for you. Your PFA will be crediting your bank account according to the plan you choose.
7. Can you take from your RSA before you retire?
Yes you can withdraw for your RSA before you retire if you are out of employment for four months and you’re unable to secure another employment. You will be given 25% of your RSA balance. After this 25% has been withdrawn for your RSA, the balance cannot be touched until retirement.
However, if you choose to make additional voluntary contributions (AVC) into your Retirement Savings Account (RSA) you are entitled to withdraw from your AVC any time before retirement (it is tax free if withdrawal is after 5 years). So if you’ve been putting some AVC in your retirement account or if you start now, you too can withdraw from that at any point before you retire.
8. What happens to your balance after you withdraw your lump sum?
When you retire and take an initial lump sum from your RSA, the rest of the money will either be used to procure an annuity for you, or it will be used to fund a programmed withdrawal that pays you for an estimated lifespan of not less than 18 years…in real terms…for life.
A programmed withdrawal is a method by which the employee collects his retirement benefits in periodic sums spread throughout the length of an estimated life span.
An annuity is an income purchased from an approved life insurance company which provides monthly or quarterly income to the retiree during his/her lifetime but only the first 10 years are guaranteed meaning if the retiree dies AFTER 10 years, his/her beneficiaries get NOTHING.
9. Other than when you retire, when can you have access to your RSA?
There are special cases. For instance, if you retire before you’re 50 years old because of a mental or physical disability, your PFA will give you immediate access to your RSA. You can also claim 25% of your pensions if you lose your job and can’t get a new one within four months.
10. Should you move your pensions to an insurance company when you retire?
It is entirely your choice but you’re strongly advised to keep your pensions with your PFA. Your PFA manages your pensions while you work, they invest the pensions for you safely and they update you regularly about how your money is doing to help you prepare well for retirement. This proves that you can trust them to keep delivering even after you retire. Besides once you move from Programmed Withdrawals to Annuity, you CANNOT move back if you’re are not satisfied with the services they offer or the deal you got. So choose wisely and make n informed decision. Your future and that of your loved ones count on it.
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