"Aging Workers Stage A Run On Their Pensions
Have you heard the one about Continental Airlines (CAL) suing some of its own pilots for faking their divorce?
Yeah, it's a good one. It seems 9 pilots lied about getting divorced in order to take advantage of a loophole that allows them access to their retirement pension before they, well, retired. The company got suspicious when it realized that many of the couples were still living together and in some cases got remarried (Not that all this doesn't happen in a legitimate divorce).
But then, given the nervousness surrounding pensions these days, who wouldn't want to jump ahead in line and get access to the cookie jar? Let those who play by the rules wait around watch their pension assets wind up in court.
This dovetails with another story about older workers going into early retirement at alarming rates -- helping to suck down pension funds down earlier than previously anticipated. It's a combination of being laid off and general frustration.
Stories go like this.
LA Times: For Herman Hilton, 66, of Jacksonville, Fla., a lean 6-foot-2 electrician with a bushy gray beard, the decision to lay down his pliers and screwdriver was born of frustration.
For at least the last 10 years, as he wired new buildings, he was looking toward retiring as soon as he hit 66 and qualified for full benefits. And last fall, like millions of other older workers, Hilton put his "golden years" plan on hold when his 401(k) lost more than a third of its value.
Then last month, his life took another unwelcome turn: Hilton's foreman pulled him aside to tell him that he was being laid off. For several weeks, Hilton collected unemployment insurance. But he soon decided to call it quits and file for Social Security.
Once again, you have to ask, why wait around for your benefits? Who knows what could go happen. The US could go broke or do some kind of "default" on Social Security, so it can keep paying China. Yeah, you might not get full benefits for retiring early, but money is money, and with the future of these systems so uncertain, both early retirement and faked divorce may be a good idea."