Although they are getting rarer these days, many employees in the Denver area still get the benefit of a retirement pension from their employers. Depending on the terms, a pension can one of a person's most valuable assets.
Just to give one example, a career public school teacher who retires after 30 years of service could easily receive monthly payments from her pension that are equal to a lump sum of well over $1 million dollars. Other people in professions where pensions are still the norm, such is in the public sector, will receive at least as much.
Unlike even a 401(k) plan, which has an identifiable value on any given day, it is hard to figure out exactly how much a pension is worth because the amount of the monthly payment, as well as how long the payments will last, depend on a number of factors.
Thus, while there are formulas with which one can calculate the value of a pension, it will likely take an expert to look at all the assumptions that go in to those formulas and come to a reliable estimate of a pension's lump sum value.
This expert's opinion can be very important when dealing with a pension in a high asset divorce, as a worker's spouse will likely want his fair share of the pension.
Under Colorado law, pensions can be treated as marital property that are subject to division. There are of course some exceptions and wrinkles to this rule, which is why it is usually a good idea for someone who owns a pension and who is going through a divorce to seek out the advice of an experienced attorney. The attorney can also work with an expert to ensure that one's pension gets correctly valued.