Q: How can I check on the financial health of my pension?

A: Your plan is required to provide you with a summary annual report once a year. It will show you a snapshot of the plan’s assets, but that information isn’t all that useful unless you know the size of the liabilities.

If you want to dig deeper, request a copy of Form 5500, the annual report retirement plans are required to file with the Department of Labor. You can obtain this report from your plan administrator or the DOL; you may have to pay copying fees.

Form 5500 is a dense document, and you may also want to consult with an employee benefits attorney, actuary or financial planner with expertise in the area.