Recently, we took a look at the retirement plans offered by BNY Mellon and Weber-Stephens. This week, we're turning our attention to the other side of ERISA: welfare benefits.

You can easily identify whether a particular plan belongs on the retirement side (defined benefit, defined contribution, etc.) or the welfare side (health, life, disability, etc.) by the three-digit plan number in Part II Item 1b of the 5500. If that number is below 500, it's retirement. Above 500, it's welfare.

So looking at Microsoft's plan 501, we know right away what to expect.

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