When you join a workplace pension plan, you can expect certain things to take place. For all plans, you have the right to get information about the plan and how it works, including:
- Who contributes
- How much is contributed
- Who chooses the investments
- What deadlines you have for making decisions.
If you have questions, you should be able to get more information, such as financial reports about the plan. However, you may have to pay a fee to get copies of these papers.
What information will I get about my defined benefit pension plan?
You should get:
- A yearly statement that tells you how the plan is investing its money and how much your pension is worth. It should also tell you if the plan has enough money to pay what it has promised to pay to its members. Federal and provincial laws set standards for funding a pension plan
- A yearly financial statement. If the fund is large, the yearly financial statement must include an auditor's report.
What information will I get about my defined contribution plan or Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Group RRSP)?
There are clear guidelines about the type of information you should get.
Before you join: You should get information about the goals of the plan, how much you can contribute, and any costs to you. You should also get help in learning about your investment choices. For example, your plan should offer:
- A glossary that explains the terms used in the investment industry
- Information about any investment fund choices, including information about risk and return and how the fund is doing
- Information about how to choose a mix of different investments
- A description of all costs
- Worksheets to help you plan your retirement savings
- On-line calculators
- An investor profile questionnaire to help you determine your investment objectives and risk tolerance.
- Your workplace may also arrange for you to get investment advice from a financial expert. Or, you may wish to pay for this service yourself.
Once you join: You should get an account statement at least once a year. It tells you things like how much you and your company have contributed and how your investments are doing. You should also get an update on the performance of any investments that the plan offers.
Remember: Your workplace pension or savings plans may play a big role in your retirement
Read all the information you receive carefully. It's especially important to review your account statements if you are in charge of investing your savings. You'll likely want to make changes from time to time to keep your investments on track.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.