Know Your Pension | Grumpus Maximus

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Today’s episode features Grumpus Maximus, author of  The Golden Albatross and creator of the Grumpus Maximus website.

Grumpus was three years away from a pension when he had a breakdown.

This pushed him to gather all the information he could on his pension to choose on staying or going.

Ultimately, he stayed and from then on became focused on teaching others how to understand and utilize their own pension plans.

Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about this awesome episode!

Episode Summary

Grumpus’ Beginnings

  • In the spring of 2016, he suffered a mental breakdown
  • This was while serving in the military
  • He was only 3 yrs from a pension
  • This made him do a lot of investigating into his pension
  • He gives people advice on how to balance mental health and personal finance decisions
  • We also talk about how to decide when to stop chasing the pension
  • This is important because there’s often such a long time to earn the pension

Varieties of Pensions

  • Grumpus highlights the vast differences in pensions
  • These differences make them more or less valuable
  • Differences include healthcare and inflation adjustment
  • One thing to look out for is how well funded the pension is
  • If it is only 50% funded, then it could be a riskier and less attractive pension

What is a Pension?

  • Generally, it’s some percentage of money based on your salary that you receive forever
  • You might have to work X number of years and at that point, you’re fully vested
  • Some allow you to ramp up your pensions vs all or nothing
  • Think partial vs cliff vesting
  • The main reason for a pension is for retention
  • If you’re ready to leave, they may offer you a lump sum
  • It’s important to consider tax implications and how much value you’re giving up
  • Grumpus also highlights that all plans must offer survivor benefits
  • This is where your spouse or dependent would get a part of your pension after your death

Rely Only on Your Pension?

  • Simply put, you shouldn’t only rely on your pension
  • The closer you get to vesting, the more you can assume you’ll have it
  • You also need to study how likely your pension is to actually exist
  • This is on top of understanding how likely you’ll be able to handle a single job for 20-30 years

Grumpus Moves Abroad

  • He moved to New Zealand and enjoying the conversion rate
  • We then discuss how the pension is taxed based on state/country you live in
  • Grumpus is a big fan of the range of activities available in New Zealand
  • Cody couldn’t agree more!

Key Takeaways

  1. Know Your Pension: The pension system isn’t as simple as we thought, so study your specifics
  2. The future is uncertain: At times we don’t take action because we’re pessimistic but then, unfortunately, we make future assumptions based on overly optimistic projections

Call to Action

Study your pension! Even if you don’t have a pension, chances are that you or your spouse has some type of benefits. Really dig in to make sure you fully understand and maximize those benefits.

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