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Meltdown 101: How Layoffs Affect Retirement Plans

Meltdown 101: How Layoffs Affect Retirement Plans

CANDICE CHOI, AP Personal Finance Writer

It’s one of a heap of financial worries that come with a layoff: What happens to your company-sponsored retirement plan?

The answer depends on how long you worked for the company, the amount you saved up and whether the money’s in a 401(k) or a pension plan.

For the most part, federal regulations protect retirement savings, even if a company goes belly up — which may come as a relief to many given today’s shaky economic landscape. Since the start of the recession last December, the number of unemployed people in the country has increased by 2.7 million, to 10.3 million.

In case you’re worried about your job security, here are some questions and answers about your company-sponsored retirement account.

Q: Do I get retirement benefits if I’ve only been with the company a short time?

Q: What happens to the money in my 401(k) or pension after I’m laid off?

Q: Should I take a lump sum or keep it in a retirement account?

Q: What happens to my pension if my company goes under?

Q: What happens to my 401(k) if my company goes under?


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