Responses were varied, from screams of joy to overwhelming relief as we delivered the news to clients - Kodak has resumed lump sum pension payments, effective immediately, for the remainder of 2013. Prior to yesterday, lump sum payments from Kodak's Retirement Income Plan, or KRIP had been restricted as the company worked through bankruptcy. Now, employees and retirees have the comfort of knowing they can access their money without concern of Kodak's future success.
Things to consider:
- Former employees who left the company after Kodak filed for Chapter 11 will have the opportunity to take the lump sum option for the balance of their KRIP benefit. Look for new election packages by the end of September with lump sum payment options.
- This is an excellent opportunity for Kodak employees and retirees to take control of their retirement portfolios. Many are considering taking the lump sum benefit, effectively putting their arms around their assets and re-deploying them in line with their financial plans.
- Some folks have taken KRIP in the form of monthly payments, using the income to pay their mortgage or to supplement their income. In this case, it may make sense to continue receiving monthly payments, or to elect to receive a partial lump sum, while continuing monthly payments to meet current obligations.
- PBGC - We have been getting questions about the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation and what would happen to their pension if Kodak declines further. While retirees are guaranteed something, younger employees and top pension earners could still take a hit if the PBGC was to step in to handle Kodak's pension obligations in the future.
Throughout much of Rochester's history Kodak was a bastion of stability for its employees - they knew they'd be taken care of for life. For many those views have changed as the company has declined over time. If nothing else, resumption of lump sum pension benefits is an opportunity for a conversation with your financial advisor, to discuss the most efficient way for you to deploy your KRIP benefits to provide for future growth, stability, and happiness.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).