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Pilot Retirement Checklist

Allied Pilots Association Supplemental Medical. This provides an additional $1M in coverage in the event that company benefit limits are exhausted. You must be enrolled prior to age 55.

Retirement Medical Selection.

  • The default election is the Retiree Standard Medical (RSM). There is no cost, and it has a $300,000 lifetime max.
  • If you prefer the Value Plus, you must enroll. It is $155 per month per covered person. The lifetime max is $1M, and some preventative care is covered. However, coverage will revert to RSM at age 65.
  • Note: We recommend that all pilots elect the Value Plus unless eligible for Tricare.

Consider an in-service rollover of your 401K assets.

You are eligible for this at age 59 ½. There are several reasons:

  • If you are considering a money manager, an in-service rollover is an efficient way to evaluate their performance prior to your actual retirement.
  • When you retire, there is a 60-day "validation period" before your 401K can be rolled over.
  • Remove assets from employer plan.
  • You may continue to contribute to the 401K plan until you actually retire.

A-Plan Annuity Election.

  • "Life Only" means when the pilot dies, no further income payments are made.
  • "Survivor" means when the pilot dies, the spouse receives survivor payments, which are usually lower, for the lifetime of the survivor.
  • "Guaranteed Period" (or "Certain Period") means that payments will continue for the life of the retired pilot. If the pilot should die prior to the end of the "guaranteed period" (10 years, 15 years, etc.) the payments will continue to the beneficiary until the end of the certain period.

Social Security benefits claiming strategy. Some financial professionals can assist their clients with the "when" and "how" to claim Social Security retirement benefits. This is especially critical for couples where a survivor's benefits are locked-in for life.

Medicare Enrollment. If you are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you will be automatically enrolled at age 65. If not, you must enroll three months prior to your 65th birthday.

Life Insurance. Your company life insurance changes from $70,000 to $45,000 at retirement. It is a decreasing term policy that goes to zero after seven years. Consider level term or permanent coverage for estate liquidity and survivor protection.

Estate Planning. A board certified estate planning attorney will recommend an array of documents, not just a Will, to protect you and your family. Goals of a well-designed estate plan include tax mitigation, efficient transfer of wealth and contingencies, such as incapacity.

Debt Management. When you are approaching retirement, you should consider reducing or eliminating your debts. This includes avoiding co-signing loans for others.

*The AMR Corporation bankruptcy filing makes many terms and benefits of the Collective Bargaining Agreement subject to change.

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