Present value pension calculator

This net present value pension calculator calculates the present value of defined benefit pension plans for division of assets in divorce. This pension valuation calculator is also useful for people who need to know today’s cash value of their pension in order to make a decision about a lump sum buyout offer from a pension provider or simply to know their net worth. This present value (PV) calculator uses an actuarial formula and makes over 4000 calculations, taking into account both interest rates and mortality rates. It does not use the “life expectancy” method, which some accountants and financial planners use, because the life expectancy method is inherently inaccurate.

I have compiled links and telephone numbers for over 5200 specific pension plans on this page.

You can see a sample pension present value report by clicking here. The report produced by this site shows, year-by-year, how interest and mortality discounting interact with pension benefits and cost of living adjustments.

The present value pension calculator is particularly useful for divorcing couples who need a present value valuation of a pension for division of marital assets. The calculator not only determines the present value of a pension, it also calculates the “marital portion” of the pension using a coverture ratio. In other words, it determines what percent of the present value of the pension was earned during the years of marriage. In many states, this marital portion of the pension is considered marital property, so this part of the total pension present value is shared equally between spouses in many cases. You can learn more about division of retirement accounts in divorce here.

To use this present value calculator, you must first get one piece of information from your particular pension plan. You must determine what your projected monthly benefit would be if you a) stopped working now, and b) began drawing your pension benefits at a normal, future retirement age for your job or occupation. For example, if you have 15 years of pension plan participation, you must find out what your monthly pension benefit would be if you retired with 15 years of service at age 62, 66, or some other projected retirement age. The retirement age that you choose to determine your future monthly benefit amount is also the retirement age that you will enter in the present value calculator below. It does not matter how old you are right now, and it does not matter if you plan to continue to work at your job for more years. The monthly benefit required for a present value calculation is the benefit that a person who retired at a normal retirement age (that you specify) would get if they had the number of years of service that you currently have .

Your pension plan administrator can provide you with this projected monthly benefit, and many pension plans have online calculators or formulas that allow you to calculate this projected monthly benefit yourself. I have compiled links to pension-specific information for each of the 100 largest pension plans in the United States and pension administrator telephone numbers for an additional 5000 US pension funds. You will enter the predicted monthly benefit they give you into the calculator under “9)”, below.

Your pension administrator or pension information webpage can also give you information about COLA’s (“cost of living adjustments”) for your pension, if it has any. If your pension has a guaranteed COLA, you should find out whether it is a fixed dollar amount (choice 10b, below), a percentage of the entire pension benefit amount (choice 10c, below), or a percentage of some fractional part of the entire benefit (choice 10d, below). You should also find out when your COLA starts to take effect. For many pensions it is one year after retirement. If you indicate that your pension has a COLA, you will be asked to enter the number of years and months between the time you retire and the time that the first COLA is applied.

You can see a discussion of how different inputs affect present value calcuations here.

If you appreciate the work I have done here (accountants charge around $200 for a present value calculation), please feel free to make a donation of $5:

Please report any bugs to me and please pass along suggestions on how to make it more comprehensive or user-friendly: [email protected]


The results provided by this calculator are calculations that depend on assumptions about future interest rates, cost of living adjustments, and life expectancies as well as the numbers you enter into this calculator. You should consult with a professional pension valuator or actuary to determine the present value of your pension for the purposes of dividing marital assets or other financial planning.
Disclaimer. Before filling out the form, check this box to indicate that you understand and agree with the above disclaimer.

10a) My pension has no COLA. (If your pension has an occasional, one-time COLA, you should choose this one.)  Many pensions today have no COLA. If you have a COLA that will only be applied once or twice, perhaps, then choose 10a).


10b) My pension has a fixed dollar-amount COLA. Many pensions have a COLA that is a fixed dollar amount, i.e., the same, fixed amount each year. Some pensions call this “simple interest” on a specific amount, e.g., 2% of your first annual benefit. Enter the amount of this COLA and indicate how many years and months after retirement the COLA will first be applied. Many pension COLA’s start one year after retirement or on a specific date after a one year waiting period after retirement. Some pension COLA’s have five year waiting periods or waiting periods that depend on your specific age or date of hire.

The first COLA adjustment to my pension will be applied years and months after my retirement date.


10c) My pension has a COLA that is a percentage of the entire benefit. This is for COLA’s that have compounding interest. If your COLA has simple interest, you should choose 10b). If your compounding COLA interest rate varies from year to year, you might use a percentage that is the average from the last 5 years or slightly lower. Compounding interest can increase future benefits dramatically, so choosing a high percentage rate can exaggerate the future benefits, and present value, of your pension.

The first COLA adjustment to my pension will be applied years and months after my retirement date.


10d) For some pensions, the cost of living adjustment applies to only part of your entire annual benefit. My pension has a COLA that is a percentage of part of my total benefit amount. Some large pension systems, such as the MA State Employee Retirement System, have COLA percentages that apply to only part of the benefit. In MA, for example, pension benefits receive a 3% COLA but with a maximum benefit of $390 per year. These COLA’s can function like compounding interest COLA’s until a certain threshold is reached and then function like a fixed dollar amount. If one has a MA pension that starts at $10,000 per year, it will receive a compounding COLA of 3% until the annual benefit is greater than or equal to $13,000. After that, it will receive a fixed amount COLA of $390 annually.

The first COLA adjustment to my pension will be applied years and months after my retirement date.

Below is the information you have input. To make changes, simply scroll up and make changes, then press “Confirm my inputs” again.
Years of participation in pension:
Years of marriage during pension participation:
Projected age at retirement:
Mortality Table:
Predicted COLA:

To make any changes to what you have input, simply scroll up, make changes, and click the CONFIRM MY INPUTS button again.

Age Year Basic annual pension payment before any cost of living adjust (COLA), if any Cost of living adjustment (COLA), if any

Results
Present value of pension as of :
Marital portion of present value of pension:
Coverture ratio (percent of the pension participation time during which you were married):
Years of participation in pension:
Years of marriage during pension participation:
Projected age at retirement:
Mortality Table:
Predicted COLA:

Age Year during which Age starts Partial Year Gross Annual Benefit Dollar value of annual COLA in Gross Annual Benefit Interest discount rate Probability of Surviving each year Present Value of Annual Benefit