When we think about financial planning, we usually think about money, right? Of course money plays a big part in your financial planning, but we also need to consider what lifestyle we are going to live and how long are we going to need income. In other words, are you going to live an expensive lifestyle; and how long are you going to live?
A recent article in Forbes, Workplace Retirement Coverage Drops And The System Continues To Fail, by Teresa Ghilarducci, provides some sobering statistics about retirement preparedness for Americans. It is no surprise Americans who have access to a retirement plan at work will be better prepared for retirement than those without a plan. However, according to Ghilarducci, only 40% of workers in the U.S. are covered by a retirement offered by their employer. This is a 4% decrease since 2014 and this number has declined in 14 of the 17 years since 2000.
There are two paths to retirement, the traditional path and the non-traditional path. The traditional path is the one where you work your entire career and decide to retire to a life of leisure with no plans for a future job of any sort. The non-traditional path is a more of a gentle downward slope rather than a cliff into retirement. It is characterized by continuing some type of paid employment and gradually easing into the life of leisure when you sever ties with all employment for good. Which path will you take? If you're like most Americans, you will take the non-traditional path.
What is myLAGERS, and why do I need a myLAGERS account?
I recently spoke with a former colleague who told me she was not even 30 years old yet and she has absolutely no interest in talking about or thinking about retirement or planning for her financial future. She did know when she would be vested in her current pension, but she had no idea how a pension works and couldn't tell me anything about her specific employer's plan. "I'll worry about that in a few years." Bottom line, she sounded exactly like me when I was her age, and my current-age self would love to have a "welcome to reality" talk with my younger self. Unfortunately, I was not convincing enough to make my former colleague take action to support her financial future, but she is now, at least, THINKING about it.
I recently sat down with Bob Wilson, LAGERS Director, to hear about our new funding level and how it matters to our employers and our members.
Our guest blogger Katie Hunze from Jefferson County explains what is involved in a LAGERS on-site Pre-Retirement Seminar and how they can help employees understand their benefit.
Jefferson County hosted its first Pre-Retirement Seminar in April; open to all our employees. We were pleased to have 95 employees for our first attempt. Our vision is to ensure that whether retirement is five years or twenty-five years away, all employees should have a solid understanding of what they’re working towards every single day. We appreciate and value all of our public servants and want them to be able to enjoy the retirement that they have worked so hard for! Retirement benefits are covered during our new hire orientation but that can be somewhat overwhelming and this seminar allowed us to focus on the specific topic of retirement.
A little over a year ago, LAGERS board and staff established “A Secure Retirement for All” as our new vision statement. By their nature, vision statements are meant to be lofty, inspiring and something on the edge of being unobtainable. However, every goal, strategy, and decision that is made at LAGERS is driven by this statement.
Flexibility may not be a word you often hear associated with public pension plans. These plans are typically created by state or local policymakers, and changes to the plan structure are sometimes difficult and time-consuming. This is OK for many public pension plans because they cover workers with similar characteristics. It is common, for example, for all teachers covered by a pension plan to have the same retirement benefits regardless of the school district that employs them. All employees have the same benefits; the school districts and employees share in the cost of benefits; and all pay the same amount for those benefits.
My colleague Penny and I recently spent some time in Rolla to honor one of our long-standing members, Rolla Municipal Utilities employee Rosalie Spencer, who was celebrating 50 years with the organization with a lunch reception. Around 70 of Rosalie's friends, family and coworkers present and past were on hand to celebrate her accomplishment. "When I started here, I told them if they hired me I wanted to stay until I retire. And I am." Rosalie plans to retire at the end of April of this year, and because she has stayed for 50 years should be able to replace a sizable amount of her salary with her LAGERS benefit.