What to do as retirement nears

Determine your pension benefits

Defined benefit pension plans, which pay a guaranteed monthly amount upon retirement, were once a regular part of the American employment landscape. They’ve become much rarer in recent decades.

But if at some point in your working years you were employed in a unionized shop or part of certain sectors of the economy, particularly manufacturing, you may have earned benefits from such a pension plan.

Those benefits could still be out there, even if you’ve moved on to another job or career, or even if the company you once worked has been bought, sold or gone out of business.

If there’s any chance you're eligible for a defined benefit pension, now is the time to dig through that old paperwork and find out. You can check online to see what entity is now responsible for administering the pension plan.

Yes, it’s a headache, but it could mean a monthly check.