Family Matters Pension2 min readJune 28, 2023

Three types of pension plans and what you should know about them

We’ve all heard our friends and family members talk about pension plans at some point in their life, usually when they start a new job or are getting close to retirement. A friend of mine recently joined a pension plan at their new job but when I asked what kind of pension plan it is, they shrugged their shoulders and said, “I don’t know, it’s a pension plan!”

It is important to note, not all pension plans are created equal, and in most cases you won’t have a choice as to what type of pension plan you can join.

If you already belong to a plan or if you are considering a new job opportunity that offers a pension plan, here is what you should know about the different plan types:

1. A defined benefit pension plan will give you a pension for your lifetime based on a formula that usually considers your service and earnings. These plans can be contributory, where employees and employers make contributions, or non-contributory, where only the employer makes contributions. In this type of plan, the pension fund is managed by the plan’s investment & portfolio managers, and your pension at retirement can be estimated in advance.

2. A defined contribution or money purchase plan is a pension plan that will give you a pension at retirement based on the value of the contributions you and your employer made, plus interest. In this type of plan, there will be several different investment options available to you and you will be able to choose the one that best suits your needs.

3. A pooled registered pension plan is similar to a defined contribution plan and is offered by financial institutions on behalf of many employers, and self-employed people. This type of pension plan is designed for employees that do not have access to a pension plan at their workplace.

All Manitoba registered pension plans must provide you with an annual statement, which outlines the details of your pension plan participation (contributions, pension earned, normal retirement date, etc.) and your personal information (address, date of birth, spousal details). If any of the information on your annual statement is incorrect, you should immediately contact your pension plan administrator to avoid delays when you start receiving a payment from your pension plan.

The more you can learn about your pension plan now, the better you can prepare for life at retirement and beyond.


Roger Mousseau
Deputy Superintendent of Pensions
Manitoba Financial Services Agency


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