Are Buyouts a Good Deal for GM Workers?

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

General Motors has offered its roughly 100,000 United Auto Workers-member employees cash incentives to retire early. Incentives range from $35,000 to $140,000.

The day the buyout offer was announced, 27-year GM worker John Baxter told us the idea appealed to him.

"Time to get out. It'd be nice to do it a little early." Baxter told News 10 on March 22.

Union leaders are headed to Detroit Tuesday to get detailed early retirement information to pass along to employees. In the meantime, workers like Baxter are seeking out financial planners like Ted Turzian.

"They haven't made that decision yet. They're coming to us for help," said, a vice president with Capitol National Bank.

The answers workers get from planners depend on things like age and time at GM.

Experts advise younger workers might be able to go out and get another job, so they can take larger lump sums and not worry as much about losing health benefits.

Financial planner Joe Messerly says workers roughly five years from retirement may in the most uncertain position

"The people that have done a good of financial planning will be able to take the benefits; other people will be forced to continue employment," said Messerly, a vice president and financial planner with the Centennial Group.

Along with considerations like age and time at GM, financial planners say workers should also consider where they work.

"I've seen some who are going to have great opportunities at new plants right here in Lansing. They might want to stay around," Terzian said.

Despite the seemingly secure employment for some, questions about the future of the world's largest automaker do arise for workers.

"What's going to happen to GM? They're saying, if we don't take this now, down the road, it wouldn't be available to me," Terzian said.

Planners stress, if nothing else, workers should take their time in making a decision.

Workers can begin early retirements as soon as June 1.


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