Public pension plans that are well-funded share some common characteristics, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA). And since LAGERS ranks in the top ten in terms of funding among U.S. plans, you may guess that these characteristics would be found in our practices. And you would be right.
LAGERS' Executive Director and I attended the annual conference of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) last week. This conference gathers together the leaders of the largest public pension plans in America. Attending allows us to hear ideas about how to better serve our members and gain insight into best practices in the retirement industry.
LAGERS understands that the benefits we offer help tens of thousands of Missourians gain financial independence. We take our responsibility as caretakers of your money very seriously. LAGERS' Board of Trustees and staff are considered fiduciaries. This means we are legally obligated to act and make decisions that are in the best interest of our members and their beneficiaries. There are many specific things we do on a daily basis to help protect your money. Here are a few.
- About half of Americans age 55 and older have nothing saved for retirement. However, 20% of these do have access to a defined benefit pension plan.
- Defined benefit pensions are the preferred retirement plan for state and local government employers.
- 39 employers have chosen LAGERS defined benefit plan for their employees within the last year. Almost all switched from a 401(k)-type plan.
- Defined benefit plans, like LAGERS, help government employers attract and retain good workers to serve the community.
A new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) shows that income retirees receive from public pension plans, like LAGERS, produce positive economic impacts across the nation. The study, using 2016 data, reports public pensions are responsible for $1.2 trillion in total economic output in the U.S. and added $202.6 billion in government revenue from retiree income taxes and spending.
We all want to live in communities that are safe, stable and vibrant. This means we need to create towns with solid infrastructure, strong police protection, responsive fire and EMS services, great schools, good parks, and successful businesses. But the essential ingredient to produce great communities is so often overlooked. People make it happen!
The recently released 2018 Economic Impact Report from Missouri LAGERS shows the pension fund paid $308 million to retired local government workers and their loved ones last year with ninety-three cents of every dollar ($286 million) staying in Missouri.
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.