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US Retirement Plan Overview -- Pensions, 401(k)

Advice and reference info from members. (Updated Aug 13, 2020.) Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

If you received a "Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information" notice from Social Security, it is usually based on outdated information -- as indicated by the "Year Reported" date on the form included in the body of the notice. Here's how to decode it: https://www.hpalumni.org/PotentialBenefitLetter

If you are leaving the company, see our ASAP Checklist for additional information on this topic.

This topic is discussed on the HPAA's Finance Forum. Ongoing discussions of US personal finance issues -- such as Social Security, pensions, and stock -- from an ex-HP/HPE perspective. Join the HPAA Finance Forum 

How to Choose a Financial Advisor. Member advice on sorting out the different types of financial salespeople and advisors.

Classification as "Retired." If you left at 55 or older with at least 10 years of service -- or left after 2010 with age-plus-years-of-service of at least 80 -- HPInc and HPE generally classify you as "retired" -- regardless of how you left and whether or not you have any retiree benefits. This is reported to outside payroll and employment verification services.

Not always obvious: Which HP-related companies am I a retiree or former employee of? Given HP's complex history of acquisitions, divestitures, and spinoffs, the company or companies that you are legally a former employee of may not be obvious. If any doubt, check here: Which Company


The continuing HP 401(k) plan, which started in 1984:

- Documents downloaded by members on July 6, 2020:  HP 401(k) Plan Summary Plan Description - 2017    2020 Summary of Modifications to 401(k) SPD   How to decode an SPD. (For example, many of the postal contact addresses given in SPDs are extinct.)  Decoding SPDs

- Administrator: HPInc Retirement Service Center -- pension and 401(k) accounts, including those for HP predecessor companies such as DEC and EDS. Operated by Fidelity Investments:
1-800-457-4015 (Outside the US: 1-508-787-9902 collect.)       

- Be sure you have a valid beneficiary designation on file at Fidelity.

- As stated in the SPD, benefits under 401(k) plans are not insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC.)

- Note: HP originally gave its 401(k) program the confusing name "TAXCAP" -- "Tax Savings Capital Accumulation Plan."  1984 HP Annual Report   1998 Measure Article (pages 8-10)   2004 SEC filing

Legacy HP retirement plans (which many HPE retirees are also in)...

- HP Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP.) You may have a benefit if eligible before November 1, 1993. No further contributions made after that date. The DPSP is a defined contribution plan.

- HP Retirement Plan. You may have a benefit if employed by HP on or before December 31, 2002. Existing participants have stopped accruing additional benefits. The RP is a defined benefit plan.

For details on the legacy HP "DPSP" and "RP" retirement plans -- including a thorough discussion of the key question: Should you take a lump-sum or a monthly pension?
-- see Legacy Retirement Plans

Service at predecessor companies.

Of HP's many predecessor companies, as far as we know: Only HP and DEC had retiree healthcare programs. Only HP, DEC, and EDS had pension plans. Over the years, HP, DEC, and EDS set aside money in dedicated trust funds to pay for those programs. Compaq, Tandem, Autonomy, Palm, etc. did not have retiree healthcare or pensions among their benefits programs. Their employees did not have those expectations and there were no corresponding trust funds to pass on to an acquiring company. Therefore, employees of those companies do not get credit under HP's retiree healthcare or pension programs for service at the predecessor company. (Predecessor service does count for FTO.)  Details: DEC Benefits  EDS Benefits

The non-profit Pension Rights Center has advice on tracing lost pension plans.

Report disability or a death to the company


2015: HPInc/HPE Breakup.

"Overall, HP's pension plans are well funded and we continue to make contributions to pensions based on local funding requirements.  HP is committed to maintaining funding in accordance with relevant pension funding rules, and this will not change following the business separation. Keep in mind any vested HP pension benefits you maintain are obligations of the pension plan itself, rather than HP. [Emphasis added] HP has made contributions to fund these benefits in a separate trust over time, and pension benefits are subject to minimum funding requirements that will continue even after the separation."

--Posted March 17, 2015 under "Retiree News" on the official HP Continuum password-protected retiree website operated by HPInc.

Rest assured, you will not lose any retirement benefit value as a result of the separation, and you will not need to take any action.  If you still have benefits remaining in an HP pension plan or the HP 401(k) Plan, the value, timing, and method of your payments will not change, and you will not need to take any action. For more details about how your individual retirement benefits will be affected by the separation, watch for a personalized retirement announcement that will be mailed to your home in early September.

--From HP's August 27, 2015 message to US retirees


Related topics...

Future of retiree healthcare: HP never made any explicit commitment to provide retiree healthcare in the entire history of the company. Of the many Hewlett-Packard predecessor companies, only DEC had retiree healthcare. Prices paid by retirees will continue to rise due to the cap put in place in 2010.  Details

Time to untangle your stock! With any employer, no one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. Due to the HP Breakup, you may have stock in up to seven HP-related companies. It may not all be held in the same place. Many find stray accounts -- or need to retrieve stock or dividends turned over to a state as "unclaimed." With each spinoff, the cost basis for your shares changed. You could pay taxes twice on the same income. Your heirs won't need to know your cost basis, but will need to find all the shares. An HP Alumni team developed a step-by-step process to find and protect your stock. Employee Stock

Other benefits issues -- such as Social Security, Pension, 401(k), Stock, Medicare, annual enrollment, COBRA, troubleshooting retiree health coverage, etc:. HPAlumni Benefits Menu


For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. Transition, Benefits, and Finance forums. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.


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