Retirement benefits: National Football League
The National Football League has had a retirement pension in place since 1959. Players with at least one credited season in 1993 or after are vested after three credited seasons.
Players earn benefit credits for each season they play. The credit for each season earned between 2012 and 2014 is $560, and the monthly pension is calculated as the sum of all benefit credits. So a player with just two credited seasons between 2012 and 2014 would receive a monthly pension at age 55 of $1,120 for his lifetime. Hanging on an additional year, when the credit goes up to $660, lifts the monthly pension to $1,780. The benefit credit reaches $760 for those playing in the years 2018-2020.
In addition to the pension, a 401(k)-type plan called the NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan provides an employer match of up to $2 for every $1 contributed by the player. The maximum match is $24,000 through 2014, rising incrementally to $28,000 through 2020. Players are eligible for the 2-to-1 club matching contribution once they have earned their second credited season.
In addition, players receive contributions to the Player Annuity Program once they have earned their fourth credited season. The contribution amount for a credited season from 2014 to 2017 is $80,000. The amount rises to $95,000 for 2018-2020. Players may choose to receive this benefit as early as age 35 and five years out of the league as a monthly annuity or in annual installments.