MONEY: PENSION TENSION

IBM retirees will get their cash, but what's it to you? It's too soon to tell. Last week IBM agreed to pay $300 million to settle old pension claims, and agreed to pay $1.4 billion more if a recent ruling, which struck down its "cash balance" pension plan, holds.

Older IBMers said they were treated unfairly by the cash-balance plan, which tends to favor younger workers and job switchers. About 1,200 companies use cash-balance plans, covering 7 million workers.

If the courts do throw out the IBM plan, others would be in jeopardy. Some experts say Congress will then write a law to allow cash-balance plans. There's free advice at the Pension Rights Center (pension rights.org). Meantime, keep feeding that IRA, just in case.

MONEY: PENSION TENSION | News