Bank Of America / Countrywide Financial Settle ERISA Class Action Suit For $55M

Bank of America and its mortgage lender subsidiary, Countrywide Financial Corporation, have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit which alleged that California based Countrywide violated ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) by misleading employees about its financial situation and causing their pension / 401(k) funds to plunge. While they settled their case for $55 million, how can you tell if you have an ERISA case?

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How do I know if my employee pension is being managed properly?

Making sure your employee pension is properly managed is essential to your financial health. At least once a year, you should receive a full financial report from the administrator of your pension plan. In order to ensure that your pension is being managed properly, it is important to keep an eye on these reports and monitor the progress of your pension accounts, noting any changes–whether they are increases or decreases in your balance.

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What can I do if my retirement account is decreasing instead of increasing?

If your retirement account is decreasing instead of increasing, you need to consider what you have invested your cash in and whether the money is in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other types of assets. The stock market fluctuates on a fairly constant basis, so if your retirement account is decreasing and you own either individual stocks or stock-based assets, it’s not necessarily a cause for alarm.

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Do I have a choice in how to invest my pension fund?

How your pension fund is invested, and whether or not you have any control over that investment, depends on the specific benefit plan you have. You’ll have to speak with your employer or your benefits company in order to determine how your particular plan operates.

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