For many years, some of your clients have been counting on their defined benefit (DB) pension plans with the same confidence they have in counting their own fingers.

Most people have five fingers per hand, and most DB plans have enough stability and assets to pay 100% of promised retirement benefits. Or do they?

If you initiate this discussion with clients who participate in DB plans, you may learn that they have recently begun asking themselves this same question. Although the number of DB plans has been steadily shrinking from a peak of 112,000 in the late 1980s to an estimated 42,000 today, total assets of all U.S. DB plans (public and private) are still a gargantuan $5.3 trillion. About 50 million employees or retirees in the private sector and 15 million in the public sector rely on DB plans for part of their retirement security.

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