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Pension Funds: Are Yours Safe?

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FAYETTEVILLE — Many people work for most of their lives,save as much money as they can, invest, and hope they'll have enough tolive on when they retire. Now comes word that thousands of companies maybe short-changing their retirees' by spending and squandering their benefits.

Are you one of the victims?

A little research on your part could mean money in your pocket --pension money you've already earned.

Most companies have their own retirement programs set up so employeescan save money, but they also have features set up so that you as anemployee can double-check your money. The problem is, as some people arefinding out, that companies make mistakes.

Fayetteville resident Flora Dunham used to think she was doing all shecould to prepare for retirement, but now that it's just three years awayshe's not so sure.

Dunham isn't alone, not by a long shot. The average American stillbelieves social security will be enough for them to retire on.Fortunately, more than 80 million Americans are enrolled in pensionplans. but a government audit found that 13 percent of the nearly 3,000 participants studied aren't getting what they're owed.

John Hoffman teaches insurance at Fayetteville Tech. He says thepart of the problem is that many people don't read the paperwork.

Dunham says, despite her confidence, the knowledge that others havebeen short-changed makes her worry.

Hoffman says the best advice is to try to get an annual statement fromyour company and check everything on it, from the spelling of your name..to your social security number to your salary.

All of those checks can help pinpoint some of the possible mistakes.

Photographer:Mike Joyner

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