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Longer Life Spans Mean Pension Payments may be Made for Longer than Currently Embedded in Liability Calculations

The good news is that we are all expected to live longer. The bad news is that for pension plan sponsors, expected future benefit payments to retirees will likely need to be made over a longer time period than what is currently baked into liability calculations. The direct result of these proposed changes would be to increase a plan’s liabilities and reduce reported funded levels. This could have the effect of increasing balance sheet liabilities (or reducing assets if a plan is in an overfunded position), reducing stockholders equity, increasing recognized pension expense on the income statement and potentially requiring higher cash contributions in future years. -Michael A. Moran, Senior Pension Strategist at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.