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Defined Contribution Plan

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Voting on Local
Pensions

Pension Hotspots Report
Local Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Hotspots Reports
February 28, 2014
Original Case study
San Jose & San Diego
State-wide Measures

Overview

A defined contribution plan is a retirement benefits pension plan that serves as a deferred compensation retirement savings account such as a 401(k) or 403(b), in which retired employees have no guaranteed benefits. Retirement benefits depend on contributions from the employee and the employer made to an individual account and on how well these contributions perform when invested. This type of pension plan is in contrast to a define benefit plan, in which retirement benefits are guaranteed to employees according to a certain formula. In a defined benefit plan, employers are responsible to make up the difference if investments fall short of the costs of guaranteed retirement benefits. A defined contribution plan is much less risky for employers, because a defined contribution plan does not hold the employer responsible for providing guaranteed benefits.