I cannot believe it is the end of November already. Where has this year gone? We are just about to bid farewell to 2018 and turn the page on another very successful year for your LAGERS retirement system.
LAGERS held our Annual Meeting in St. Louis on October 25-26. In addition to our business meeting and elections for Board of Trustee positions, it also included a number of educational sessions. The meeting opened with a “State of the System” overview. We had great news to share regarding our system, and the information was well received.
- 14% investment return,
- 96% pre-funding level of the entire system,
- All 700+ employers making their required contributions.
You name it, great news about LAGERS. This is vital information and discussions we wish we could have with ALL of our members in every region of the state. But unfortunately it can be difficult for some to attend. So this year we came up with a new strategy – take that information on the road to our members!
Just one week after the annual conference, I, along with our Chief Financial Officer Melissa Rackers embarked on LAGERS first ever regional ‘town hall type’ meetings, discussing employer contribution rates, system updates and operations. To start, this year we visited Springfield, St. Louis, Jefferson City and Kansas City to gauge the interest and effectiveness of these new meetings. I’m happy to report the feedback has been tremendous! The meetings have been a wonderful open discussion, ranging from performance to accounting to legislation/trends; to economic impact and ‘what’s on the horizon’. We’ve limited the group size to keep things intimate and more conversational. It’s been great! Based on attendee comments, we’re definitely going to continue to expand this program and eventually cover every region of the state.
Like many, I find this time of year allows me a moment to look back and reflect – where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. Personally, I’m in my 25th year with LAGERS and I always do that same reflection regarding our system and our service to you. I am so proud to be part of this system, what it stands for and who we serve. Someone asked me just the other day, “Why do you still get so passionate when you talk about LAGERS”? I actually think about that…..a lot. At LAGERS we’re responsible for the lives and the financial security of over 60,000 members, retirees and their families, and the communities we serve. To quote my previous boss, “It’s a big dang deal.” It’s truly an honor to serve others. I hope you share the same pride in that as I do.
All of us have the opportunity to make a difference every day, whether big or small. From pulling over to help at the scene of an accident, lending a hand to someone less fortunate, to a simple smile for a stranger you pass on the street. It’s all so important. It really is. What defines each of us is what we do with that opportunity.
With that, I wish all of you the happiest of holidays. Be safe, cheerful and cherish every second.