Question Description

                                                      Benefits & Retirement

No one really likes to think about retirement especially when you are young and retirement seems so far away.  But retirement planning is one of the most important things you will do when preparing for that inevitable day when you do retire.  Whether your post-retirement life is an active and vibrant “second life” or is just a passing of the time until the inevitable often relies, in large part, on how you prepared for it.

This project will hopefully get you to look at some retirement plans and start to plant the seed in your mind that you need to be thinking about this as you continue in your search for careers.


This project has a few different parts to it.  All of it should be contained in a word processing document that will be attached to this project link when you are ready to turn it in.  Please note that you will NOT be sharing this document with everyone in the class.

Part 1:  Future Plans

  • First, before you dig into the details of retirement plans, think about what you want to do in life.  Write a statement that details your plans for career, family and retirement.  This is not necessarily a statement of what you are doing now but instead what your plans are in these areas in the future.  You should include, but not limit yourself to questions like: where do you want to work?  where do you want to live?  How many children do you want (if any)?  When do you want to retire?  What do you want to do after retirement?
  • Next, given the statement you have made, list the things that you can identify that will be challenges for you in making this happen.  For instance, if you plan on raising a family you might think about the amount of money it will take to raise them and send them off to college (if that is the plan).
  • Finally, go and try to find information (focus on time and money) on some of these challenges and write them down next to the items on your list.  For example, what is the average cost of college tuition now?  or how much is that RV you want to buy after retiring?

Part 2:  Terms and Information

Worker benefits and retirement plans may overlap but are not usually the same thing.  However, both of them are important to your future.  For instance, worker benefits may include tuition reimbursement for family members.  This could factor heavily into your retirement plans considering that you may not have to spend so much money on a child’s tuition.  It can get very confusing, though, because when you read the benefits and retirement plans for various companies they start throwing out terms like “pension plan”, “401k” and “stock purchasing plans”.  So before you look at various benefit and retirement plans you need to look at some of these terms.FILLER TEXT

You have been given a list of terms below.  For each term define it and add a web link where I can find more information on the term.FILLER TEXT

  • 401k
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
  • Pension plan
  • Individual retirement agreement (IRA)
  • Annuities

Now go to FILLER TEXT… and read about the 4 types of retirement plans.  You will need this additional information to help you wade through different retirement plans in part 3.

Part 3: Benefits and retirement plans

The focus of this part will be to actually look at some existing benefit and retirement plans.  You are going to look up a minimum of 3 company benefits and retirement plans and then compare them.

Company selection: You are going to select 3 different company’s benefits and retirement plans.  Use the criteria below for your selection.

  • Company #1: Your current place of employment.  If you do not work currently or your company does not have any benefit and/or retirement plan then choose a company that a family member or friend works at.
  • Company #2: The company that you hope to work for someday.  If you are already working at such a location and you used it for #1 then pick another location that would be a dream job of yours.  If you plan to be self employed then choose a different company for now that is similar to the one you want to have.
  • Company #3: A large corporation.  This can be any large company that you can think of (e.g. Walmart, UPS, Dell, etc…)

Write down the working benefits and the retirement benefits for each of the companies above.  Try to include all of the benefits that the company describes.  This may take a little searching for some companies.  (It is best to search using search strings like “(insert company name) benefits” or “(insert company name) retirement plan”.  Benefits you are looking for include things like health benefits, perks (like discounts), sick leave, maternity leave, vacation, 401k, pension plan, etc…

In a table compare and contrast these 3 companies and their benefits packages.

Write a summary of your thoughts on the different companies.

Part 4: Revisiting the future

Now that you have explored benefits and retirement packages it is time to go back to part 1 and think of those plans again.  Write a short summary answering the following questions:

  • Were you aware of the benefits of any of these companies before you looked?
  • Are the benefits of where you work or would like to work conducive to your plans for the future?  In what way?
  • How important do you think these benefits will be to you in the future?