What’s Your Retirement Plan?

September 5, 2014

It used to be that on a fairly regular basis I got a statement from Social Security showing what my monthly check would look like at age 65.  I don’t remember seeing one recently.  Do you know how much you’ll be collecting when you retire?  In a recent report from the Federal Reserve (trust me, I don’t usually pay much attention to reports from the Federal Reserve, but this one caught my attention), roughly 45 percent of respondents to one of their surveys cited Social Security as their biggest resource planned on for retirement.  (The report was on the economic well-being of US households based on an online survey.)  Whether or not you’ve seen a recent Social Security statement, I’m telling you now that your monthly check alone is not going to get you to where you want to be in retirement.  The more shocking statistic in the Fed’s report was  — and are you ready for this — one in five people who are near retirement age have no savings!  I hope you’re not one of these, and if you are I ask for your forgiveness in advance if anything I say in this blog is upsetting.

Another statistic from the Federal Reserve report is that, overall, 31 percent of those interviewed (both near and not near retirement) have no retirement savings and no pension.  That included 19 percent of respondents between the ages of 55 and 64–those closest to retirement age.

All of the above scares me.  Yes, this is a national survey and perhaps our entertainment community doesn’t fit the overall profile.  And yes, many in our industry will be receiving a pension through their union or guild (retiree health as well for those fortunate enough to qualify) or work for an employer offering a defined contribution plan (like a 401(k) or 403(b)) and so won’t be relying entirely on Social Security.  But just as many, I’m guessing, don’t fit into those two categories above–or won’t be eligible or aren’t contributing even though plans are available.

Since its beginning, MPTF has been the “safety net” for the entertainment community.  Its very essence is “communitarian”:  those who are fortunate enough to be working provide support for those who aren’t –knowing that one day the tables may be turned.   We have no plans to change any of this.  Our  mission is to work very hard with the entertainment community to help avoid the crisis situations and to be there with all kinds of resources whenever a crisis does arise.  In terms of strategies and tactics around “crisis avoidance,” we plan to be more proactive,  with programs around financial literacy, financial/retirement planning, and “financial strategies for surviving in the freelance world.”  We want to partner with other organizations to help ensure a workforce that is prepared for life’s inevitable hiccups and as financially ready as possible for productive retirement years.

Besides “safety net,” MPTF has always been about wellness, and now that we’re confident that primary health care  is being covered by our partners at UCLA Health, it’s our opportunity to focus on other aspects of well-being  that include financial, nutritional, exercise, and mental.  In the near future, you’ll be hearing about more innovative efforts from MPTF in connection with these kinds of programs and I’m hoping that you’ll find (or make) the time to become part of this community-wide effort to sustain each other for the long haul.

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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4 Responses to What’s Your Retirement Plan?

  1. Duncan Sinclair on September 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I look forward to hearing more about this new direction. As a freelancer, I’m not able to contribute to a 401k, and I’m no longer eligible to contribute to an IRA. What are the options for me?

  2. Dan Gordon on September 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Thank God for my pension, SSDI would not be enough to make it…get your years in !

  3. Lucinda A Foy on September 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    With retirement now on the horizon I am very interested in any and all articles concerning how to optimize my pension and soc sec. and answer questions about working in retirement.

  4. Shirley Kuzmunich on September 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I will be 62 in October this year, and am dreaming of a long awaited retirement. I have been blessed to work in the Motion Pic Industry for 20+ years with no lapse in time. I will have full health benifits and a pension and s/s.

    My question is this, my financial advisor told me I should get long term health ins. for when I need help in later years. I am very healthy right now, but can understand the need down the road. I called our health plan to see if they had any contacts to get a group deal with our union, but they said they did not. I know it is very expensive to have, but would be benificial when needed.

    I would like to hear any advise on this subject that could help us know what to do. Does us health plan help us with homecare if we need it?

    Thank you for all you do for us union workers.

    Shirley Kuzmunich
    [email protected] c 310-447-4586

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