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.
Jackie Barnett, PHR, SHRM-CP is a long-term public employee at the City of Columbia, MO. She has completed 23 years of service and is the HR Manager responsible for payroll support and benefits for over 2000 employees. The City of Columbia has recently engaged LAGERS to do on-site meetings for its employees in order to better inform them on the value of a LAGERS pension. Since pensions are a great tool to attract, but also retain quality employees, the City wants to educate its employees on LAGERS in order to increase retention among City employees. This is her account of their experience.
A member recently emailed the following: "I downloaded the Application for Retirement. I will fill it out and send it in, but is there anything else I need to do at this time?"
Luckily, the process for retirement at LAGERS is simple. The member is right in that the first step is to download, complete, and return the Application for Retirement 30 -90 days prior to when you want to receive your first benefit payment. However, you should be aware you can apply online through your myLAGERS account. You do not have to use a paper form or standard mail.
As some pension plans across the country continue to struggle with growing unfunded liabilities, we hear a lot these days about pension reform. One common topic these reforms address is the assumed rate of return used in calculating the fund’s required contribution rate. While it is imperative that all assumptions used in the calculation of an employer’s pension cost are reasonable and reviewed periodically, it seems that blaming a fund’s chosen rate of return for any funding shortfalls is probably missing the mark.
While policy makers continue to grapple with the question of what is a ‘realistic’ or ‘ideal’ investment assumption, a pension plan experiencing funding difficulties is likely less because of the actual assumption and more the result of not consistently making the required contributions, or failing to adjust the contribution rate when plan experience doesn’t meet the assumptions.
When I speak to leadership at many of our political subdivisions, they tell me one of the primary reasons they provide retirement benefits through LAGERS is recruitment and retention of employees. This is extremely important for our public entities because our communities need quality dedicated public servants.
This post was originally published in June 16, 2015. Annual 2019 rates, as well as your annual valuation are now posted on eclipse, and it's a good time to refresh your knowledge on contribution rates and how they work. Download your annual valuation from eclipse to learn more.
Each LAGERS employer has a monthly contribution rate for its employee group that may change annually. This contribution the employer makes ensures proper funding of its pension benefits. There are many driving factors that play into calculation of LAGERS' employers contribution rates, and we will discuss the top three in this blog.
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 few years ago, I was at a meeting where I was to give a presentation to a group of LAGERS retirees. Before I even started speaking at least three different people stopped me and asked, “So, when is the money going to run out?”
Last week I had the opportunity to attend classes for my Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy. I did not have any expectations going in other than I heard from co-workers the four-day event was quite grueling. My co-workers were correct, but I consider myself fortunate to have attended, as I expanded my knowledge about a variety of topics within public pensions. I surprised myself that I found the governance class most appealing. Governance? Really? Yes, really. Surprise!
Interview re-printed with permission from Trusted Insight.Brian Collett is the chief investment officer of Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (MOLAGERS), a $7.5 billion system. Under his leadership, Missouri LAGERS performed among the top in the public fund universe, returning 9.45 percent annualized net of fees for the last five years.