The 10-year challenge is all the rage on social media right now. People are posting pictures of themselves from 2009 and comparing them to pictures from 2019 as a way to see how 10 years has changed their appearance. It's made us wonder if we could do the same for LAGERS.
Turns out, LAGERS has aged incredibly well and is positioned for continued success in the next decade. LAGERS has seen impressive growth in just about every area of our organization. With all the growth and change, however, we remain as committed as ever to making sure your retirement money is safe. Promoting a secure retirement for all of our members and their beneficiaries is our reason we show up to work everyday. We worry about the financial stability of your retirement so you can focus on serving your community. Rest assured we will never waiver from our responsibilities and commitments to you. Now lets take a look at the past decade.
Looking back over the last 10 years, the number of participating employers has grown from 590 in 2009 to 758 in 2019. The number of active members working at these employers has increased from around 25,000 to just over 35,000. As the Baby Boomers started reaching retirement age during the pas decade, the number of retirees and beneficiaries has climbed to just under 25,000 from 14,000.
One number that has significantly decreased over the past decade is LAGERS' unfunded liability. At $831 million in 2009, the unfunded liability has been cut in half by 2019, down to $414 million. That has increased LAGERS' pre-funded level from 80% a decade ago to 94.9% today! This ranks LAGERS in the top ten among U.S. public pension plans. Assets have also increased significantly over the last 10 years from $3.2 billion to $8.1 billion.
LAGERS is very proud to deliver predictable income to all of our retirees and beneficiaries. These stable pension payments are not stuffed under a mattress, but are spent on goods and services in the communities where the retirees live. LAGERS paid out $149 million in pension payments in 2009. That number has grown to $331 million in 2019 with $309 million staying in Missouri!
LAGERS continues to pursue our vision of a secure retirement for all. We anticipate the growth in participating employers, assets, active members, and retirees to continue to grow while we get closer to our goal of an 100% pre-funded level. This past decade has been a good one for LAGERS and we look forward to serving you for decades to come!