OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - As hundreds of employees and retirees with Singing River Health System are left wondering about their financial futures in the wake of the pension plan failure, this question comes up: What do they do next? One option is to seek advice from people trained to watch out for your money.
"They should be concerned. It is a scary time," Financial Planner Justin Struble said. "It's obvious that the pension plan is underfunded. The question is how much for each individual. That's what's not clear yet."
What is clear is that now a lawsuit has been filed.
"If the legal process actually gets people more money out of the hospital system, I think it is a good thing. But the concern is, you can't get blood out of a turnip," Struble said.
For longtime system employees and retirees, there may be some good news.
"They're probably going to get, my guess would be 90 to 100 percent of the money and they're going to get that in a one time check, so there's a chance they could actually be better off."
For those who get a lump sum payment, instead of a monthly check, there are options.
"You have flexibility. You don't have to have that locked up for your lifetime. You may actually get more income in some circumstances. That could happen," Struble said.
There are many things for the retirees and employees to consider. Whether or not to hire a financial advisor is a decision individuals will have to make. But Struble says, no matter what you decide, remember to keep a cool head.
"Panic, no. Plan, yes. People need to be planning and need to be figuring it out. All the more reason that I would love to get to those real numbers people are going to see as soon as possible," Struble said. "Starting that process early allows you to have clarity and a direction to go in."
Struble said he's met with several other financial planners in recent days about possibly forming a consortium that can offer assistance to health system employees and retirees that need guidance about how to move forward.