The Key Differences Between a Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Pension Plan
As an employer, you may be thinking about offering your employees a pension plan. If so, you have two main options: a defined benefit pension plan and a defined contribution pension plan. A defined benefit pension plan offers your employees a set amount of money when they retire, whereas a defined contribution pension plan does not.
There are four key areas you should be aware of for pension plans:
We will walk you through each of these to help give you a better understanding of the differences between the two types of pension plans.
In a defined benefit pension plan, both you, the employer, and the employee will contribute to the pension plan. The amount that you will have to contribute each year will depend on what kind of expenses the pension plan has, and the amount of funding it will require that year.
In a defined contribution pension plan, employees contribute a set amount each year into their pension. As an employer, you can choose to match or “top up” their contributions to a set amount that you define in advance.
For both types of plans, contributions are tax-deductible for the employee.
As an employer, you or your pension plan administrator will be responsible for managing the funds in a defined benefit pension plan. This applies whether the employee is actively contributing to the fund or has retired and is receiving funds from it.
With a defined contribution pension plan, you can let your employees choose how they want to invest their funds. This provides your employees with more flexibility and choice and takes the responsibility off you as the employer to manage pension funds. You will still need to arrange to have a selection of funds for your employees to select from.
In a defined benefit pension plan, an actuary will work with you (approximately every three years) to calculate how much money you will need to cover the pension expenses. The actuary must consider everything from cost of living adjustments to how many employees will be retiring.
In a defined contribution plan, the costs will be lower as less active management is required. Employees will receive whatever amount their investments are worth when they retire.
Both types of pension plans will help attract and retain employees. Since a defined benefit plan builds in value each year, it is more likely to attract employees interested in staying with your company for a long time. A defined contribution plan will still attract employees – but the pension will be less appealing than a defined benefit plan would be.
A defined benefit plan will cost you more to set up, maintain, and administer, but offers your employees more stability in their retirement. A defined contribution plan will give you and your employees more flexibility and cost you less to run.
Either type of plan will help you attract and retain employees.
“I already have life insurance from work, so why do I need to get it personally?” or “Work has got me covered, I don’t need it.”
While it’s great to have group coverage from your employer or association, in most cases, people don’t understand the that there are important differences when it comes to group life insurance vs. self owned life insurance.
Before counting on insurance from your group benefits plan, please take the time to understand the difference between group owned life insurance and personally owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiary and portability.
Self: You own and control the policy.
Group: The group owns and controls the policy.
Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.
Group: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health. The rates provided are blended depending on your group.
Self: You choose based on your needs.
Group: In a group plan, the coverage is typically a multiple of your salary. If your coverage is through an association, then it’s usually a flat basic amount.
Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.
Group: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.
Self: Your policy stays with you.
Group: Your policy is tied to your group and if you leave your employer or your association, you may need to reapply for insurance.
Talk to us, we can help you figure out what’s best for your situation.
Business owners are increasingly recognizing the key importance of implementing employee benefit plans in their organization and this is an area that has grown considerably in recent decades. Employee benefits comprise all of the additional things that you offer to your employees on top of their regular salary, which could include pension contributions, health cover / insurance policies, training and education programs etc. Employees are more and more interested in the total benefits package that a potential employer can offer them, rather than just being focused on a binary salary figure and recognizing and understanding this cultural shift in the modern working world is crucial to maintain your ability to recruit and retain the right talent for your business.
Many employees value the benefits that their employer offers, considering them an integral part of their take home pay, none more so than health cover. This benefit can provide financial and emotional security to your employees and their families, without the need for them to complete any health requirements to be on the plan. They are likely to benefit from a preferable level of cover and the plan may even provide them with insurance products such as long-term disability cover, which can be harder to gain outside of a group plan. What’s more, group plans often offer out-of-country emergency healthcare for employees which has the potential to save them money on personal travel insurance products.
Not only do these benefits provide a sense of security to your employees, they can also help them to feel valued as part of your organization, which may in turn foster higher morale and increased motivation within their roles. It is therefore worthwhile for business owners to encourage their teams to recognize the fact that the benefits package that you offer should be considered as an integral part of their take home pay, alongside their actual salary.