Utility Company Employees

Since 2005, Keystone Financial Services has been working with Utility Company Employees all over the southeast. Keystone specializes on the intricacies of the Utility Company Employees Pensions and Savings Plans. We offer complimentary education workshops for the employees of the Fortune 500 Companies. We help these Utility Company Employees make irrevocable retirement decisions, such as choosing which pension option is best for them. We understand the stress that Utility Company Employees undergo as well as their families.  We know the pressure that is involved with this particular industry and we know how hard it is to keep the lights on. Therefore, we have created a turnkey retirement program to educate employees about the retirement process. Visit our Workshop Information page for the dates of the upcoming workshops in your area!

Please fill out our contact form and a representative in your area can reach out to you.

There is a significant trend in the utility industry for contract positions due to the excessive numbers of retirees. If you are interested in these assignments, E Group Engineering is an outstanding consulting firm to partner with, please see their link: www.goegroup.com.

 

Southern Company Employees

You have a tremendous benefit package through Southern Company.  Unfortunately, it is also very complex, and misunderstandings are common both from employees and human resource personnel alike.

We are Financial Planners and have had extensive experience working with Southern Company employees. This  gives us a depth of knowledge and an understanding of how to help you utilize your employee benefits. If you are planning for retirement, optimizing your company benefits can provide great advantages for you.

We have provided this page as a resource to help guide you through some important areas regarding your benefits. If you have additional questions or would like information on whether our services may be appropriate for you, please feel free to contact us directly.

Please note that this information in general in nature, and that your Southern Company benefits are subject to change. Your benefit package may vary from that described depending on your situation.  Ensure that you completely understand YOUR benefits package before making decisions.

Useful Documents for Southern Company employees:

  • Summary Plan Description for Pension benefits
  • Summary Plan Description for 401(k) administered by Merrill Lynch
  • Summary Plan Description for Retiree Health Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Your Benefits:

  • Q: Isn’t my pension guaranteed income for life? Is it safe?
  • A: Your pension benefit is guaranteed, subject to the ability of your employer to continue making payments in retirement. Should Southern Company have difficulty making pension payments in the future, your plan could be turned over to PBGC, or Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. This could result in a reduction of expected retirement benefits. Due to the amount of the Sempra pension fund that has invested in stocks in recent years, the funding level has varied substantially from year to year (See your Pension Summary Plan Description and Annual Supplement).
  • Q: I heard that there is a Lump Sum Option for my Pension?
  • A: More information regarding this will be come available 1.1.2017
  • Q: I have company stock in my 401(K) plan through Merrill Lynch, I heard there are tax benefits I may be eligible for by moving just the stock out to another plan – how does that work?
  • A: This tax strategy is referred to as NUA or Net Unrealized Appreciation.  In short, if you have SO stock with a low basis (what you paid for it) and a significantly higher current value, you may be able to save thousands by utilizing this little understood strategy.  In 2011 & 2012, some tax payers will actually be able to liquidate company stock and pay NO TAX on their gains.  If you have appreciated stock in your 401(k), make sure to evaluate if you have NUA.  Once you sell your employer stock, this option disappears.
  • Q: Can I access my 401(k) after I turn age 59 1/2 if I am still working?
  • A: Yes, Southern Company , through their administrator Merrill Lynch, allows many employees to rollover all or a part of your 401(k)  funds to a self directed IRA once you have turned age 59 1/2 – even if you are still employed.  This gives you the opportunity to consider converting some of these funds to tax-free Roth accounts before you leave employment, and utilize options not available inside the limited 401(k) plan options. If done properly, there will be no taxes due when transferring these funds to an IRA.

Retiree Medical Questions:

  • How much do I pay?
  • How long will it last?
  • What plans can I choose from?
  • What happens when I am eligible for Medicare?
  • Can my younger spouse continue regular health-care after I am eligible for Medicare?

You may have retiree medical benefits available when you retire.  You need to become familiar with these benefits, and the eligibility requirements.  The most recent summary plan description can be requested online or through HR.

Your benefits may be changed or eliminated in retirement.  While you want to fully take advantage of your benefits so long as they are available, you should also have a clear plan of what to do should they be reduced or rescinded in the future.

Other questions to be addressed:

  • How much income can I get from my 401(k)?
  • How are Social Security, Pension income and my 401(k) taxed in retirement?
  • Do I have enough life insurance?
  • Do I need long term care insurance? Isn’t that covered by the health insurance?