Ford Motor Co. said it would offer 98,000 former white collar workers in the United States a chance to cash out of their company pension plans. Ford spokesman Jay Cooney said the offers would begin with up to 15,000 retired workers randomly selected by the end of the summer, The Detroit News reported Saturday. The company is attempting to reduce its pension plan obligations, which come to $49 billion for former U.S. workers and $74 billion worldwide. White collar workers represent about a third of the total, the News said. But how many former workers will cash in their pension benefits for a one-time cash buyout is unknown. \"The level of participation is difficult to predict,\" Cooney said. \"It is a highly personal decision and will depend largely on an individual\'s unique set of circumstances,\" he said. Cooney said participation was \"absolutely and completely voluntary.\" Each offer is based on interest rates, life expectancy and actuarial tables used by the U.S. government. Once the offer is made, retires will have 90 days to decide whether or not to accept. \"I think clients are excited to see the offer. I think at first there was a certain amount of skepticism. (People thought) if it\'s a good move for Ford, then it can\'t be a good move for me,\" Kevin Van Dyke, president at Bloomfield Hills Financial told the News. \"It\'s not a good or a bad deal across the board,\" he said.