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What about Railroad Retirement?
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Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
What about Railroad Retirement?
 
« on: Jul 16th, 2007, 7:47pm »
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One subject I haven't seen discussed much is the retirement benefits.  You may know that the Railroad Retirement System is separate from Socialistic Insecurity and it has certain benefits not available to SS recipients. One is the ability to retire with 30 years service and 60 years of age.  Generally, the monthly benefits are higher, on average,  than that of SSI.  Often a man going to work at around age 20-22 years will retire at age 60 with (currently) a benefit of $2800-3,000 per month. This is, of course, a conservative guess.  I just know what mine is, so I can't really say.  If you become a supervisor, it will be a lot MORE as there are company contributions over and above.  With stock, savings, and 401 plans,  a man can retire pretty comfortably......................AND if you remain married to the same woman for at least 10 years, SHE gets a pension as well!  (The 10 years is to prevent "gold diggers" from marrying just for the old man's pension!  LMAO) Otherwise, let's say you retire after 30 years and draw $3200. Your wife then gets $1600 for a total of $4800 per month. (That may be a bit high, tho, but I am guessing, OK?)  Most retirees today would LOVE to retire on that. It ain't great, but it beats the heck out of Socialistic Insecurity! LOL!
 
NOW.  There IS a downside that we must consider.  In order to take advantage of this retirement system, one needs to go to work fairly young. IOW, when you start approaching 40, you start advancing past the age where the 30 year thing comes into play.  If you wait until 40 to start in the ranks, you're gonna be 70 before you could retire!     The other downside is, you come OUT from under Social Security, so that means that you are basically starting over!  You LOSE ALL the accumulated Social Security benefits you contributed previously.   It also takes 10 years to become vested in Railroad Retirement.  So, if you should become disabled at age 60, you only have 20 years of retirement benefits instead of the 30 you could count on at a higher age/time in service. If you came to work at 50 (highly unlikely). Those 10 years would only net you......................maybe, $900().  The only way it becomes viable to come to  work at 50 is if you are coming into management with a skill that the railroad needs such as legal, admin, finance, engineering, etc.
 
Railroads aren't going to SAY so, because it is illegal to discriminate based on age, but they DO discriminate when it comes to hiring people for the ranks.  In a nutshell,  
they do not WANT you!!!!  You have waited too late because 1) your reflexes are not good enough at that age; someone who has done this job for years can, of course, 2) you will likely present a danger to yourself and create a liability risk for the company, 3) you cannot realistically expect to earn enough retirement credits to replace the Social Security that you will lose by coming to the industry LATE. It is, of course, possible to come in at 40+ years of age, but is it worth it to YOU considering that you could end up working to age 75 in order to make the 30 years. You can retire earlier, I think, but you lose money.    
 
While my discussion many not be entirely accurate, I do wonder how many people have actually considered how Railroad Retirement works and how an employee  is handled differently under it as opposed to SSI.  It is a young man's game, both in years AND how he will be able to retire years hence if he remains in the industry.  If one waits and, even then , succeeds in getting hired, it may not be WORTH it to you and could actually present an economic tragedy.  So CHECK carefully if you are coming in at 35+ years!   A retirement check of $900 ain't gonna cut it as opposed to the 20 year old that came in out of high school, works 30 years,  and is drawing $3000 per month at retirement!  
 
 
Gadfly


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Anthony_SRR
Former Member
Re: What about Railroad Retirement?
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 19th, 2007, 10:44am »
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I don't know about you guys, but if I work for the RR I don't plan on retireing because if I do I'll be hanging arounfd at the RR all day anyway
 
Anthony


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Gadfly
Railfan
Posts: 232
Re: What about Railroad Retirement?
 
« Reply #2 on: Jul 19th, 2007, 3:46pm »
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After being ON the railroad for 30 years, I would take bets on that!  While you might
love railroading, I would almost Gar-ran-tee (sic on purpose for emphasis) you WILL get tired of it.  Lots of factors.
 
1.  You will find it ain't what you thought it was (that's a sure thing)
 
2.  Familiarity breeds contempt
 
3.  Dealing with the hours and schedules are a pain
 
4.  Loss of family life and holidays; family is celebrating while you are working
 
5.  It is intensely political.  
 
 
6.  More "favoritism and 'suck-up' types than usual
 
7   Being treated badly by supervisors and it may be more covert than outright con-
     tempt.
 
8.  Being yelled at over things you have no control over.
 
9   HUGE number of management A H's
 
10  It just plain gets OLD.
 
11. If you are preceived to  be a ball of fire, a go-getter by the line of road employees
 YOU will  be considered a "suck-up". If you are TOO "railfan" you will be  mocked,
 ridiculed, teased, called a "foamer" and a member of the "National Railway 'Hys-
 TERical' Society (he gets hysterical at the sight of a train). And the line managers
 will not like you  because they often do NOT like train buffs. (Sorry, but it is a fact)
 
 
12.  The WORST employees get the promotions while the conscientious ones are
 passed up.  I saw it TOO many times where two "favorites" stood talking about
 golf, doing outside work on company time and the superintendent brushed past
 them, spoke and kept on going.  Today one of those employees has an office job
 and his pension will be about double mine.
 
13.  Other reasons too numerous to mention here.
 
 
Yeah,  you'll just "love" railroading all right!    I've seen it hundreds of times.  Gung-ho newbies and railfans all het' up to work on the "high iron".  In a few SHORT years, he's cussing  the railroad for all he's worth.   The railroads make their own enemies, boys. Its WHY there are umpteen unions representing the employee crafts!
If it was so "wonderful" we wouldn't NEED the unions!   Romance of the rails??
HORSE HOCKEY!  
 
 
 And, like me,  in a very short time, he NEVER goes anywhere NEAR a railroad track unless he's working.  Can't WAIT for his run, or shift to end to get away from it!  And if you manage to get thru it all, that pension is about there is to make up for it!
 
YAAAAA! I made it despite it all!  
 
 
Gadfly


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Anthony_SRR
Former Member
Re: What about Railroad Retirement?
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 19th, 2007, 7:51pm »
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I guess I'l,l have to see for myself when the time comes, but I hope to last for a while
 
Anthony


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1oldgoat
TRAINing
Posts: 23
Re: What about Railroad Retirement?
 
« Reply #4 on: May 27th, 2008, 10:37am »
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I have to agree with Gadfly about a lot of what he says.  Fortunately, despite a "Love-Hate" relationship with "the Company", I still would encourage "youngin's" to take up the trade.  You'll find out if you can deal with ALL the BS in no time.  Also, if you never tried it, you'll always wonder what it would have been like.  Many folks work a couple of years, then move on to greener pastures.
 
I worked as a hostler helper/engine mover (hostler) in a shop.  When the BS got to me and I started asking myself "why did I decide on this?", I'd go trackside on a day off.  When I'd see 5 units on their hands and knees, screaming up the 2.2%, or shoooting by at 60 on the flatlands, I'd remember "Why", and it didn't seem so bad after all.  (However, most of the supervisors still wouldn't understand how to pour pee out of a boot with the instructions printed on the sole!)
 
As far as RR Retirement- it is a good deal if you hire out fairly young.  The 1st poster said something about loosing what you put into SS when you go to RRR.  I thought that what you earned for SS goes to the RRR, and vise versa, althouth it doesn't affect the amount you get when you pull the pin from either.  Also, I think that when they approved the 60/30, they reduced the time required to be vested down to 5 years.  You do need 20 years to become eligible for a disability annuity (like moi).  Another reason to not hire our when your long in the tooth.  Now weve been discussing number of "years", but in fact it's measured in months (360 months at age 60, 240 months for the DA, etc.)
 
The "spouses annuity" is 50% of what you get, but she (or he) also relinquishes getting a SS check.  The folks that have really made out are the ones where both husband and wife are railroaders.  In addition to their own retirement earning, both get the spouses annuity!  It can really add up especially if both are in TY&E service.
 
For the very young who are considering railroading as a career and a stint in the military, you might consider hiring our for the railroad before enlisting.  The railroad must keep your job waiting for you after you get out.  You retain your RR seniority date, and the best part is that your months in the military count toward the 360 you need for a full retirement.  However, it IS easier to get hired after you already have military service.
 
Finallly, RRR was created before SS was.  SS is meant to be a "retirement supplement" whereas RRR is designed to be a pension.  And just because you have a nice RRR check coming doesn't mean you shouldn't have an IRA or 401K. The BNSF (and most other RRs) are cheap when it comes to a 401Ks.  They don't match anything!  So if you go rai'roadin', and your spouse works where the employer does match the 401K, that's the way to go.
 
Good luck in your endeavors!


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