How many times have you come across a member of the Millennial generation who is concerned with whether or not they're saving enough for retirement? I’m sure the answer is either "never" or "not very often.'
This week we are celebrating public servants during Public Service Recognition Week. It's a time to take a moment to observe the men and women that make our communities go. At LAGERS, we have the pleasure of serving the public servants with whom we interact with daily. We have collected many stories from these wonderful people over the years and would like to share some of those stories here as we say THANK YOU to all the public servants out there!
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.
We are entering into the final few weeks of session, as we continue to watch several bills that could impact LAGERS. Back in January, I wrote about three bills in particular: House Bill 1329, House Bill 2044, and Senate Bill 628. All three of these bills contain language that would allow for Metro Planning Organizations and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to seek membership in the LAGERS system.
About a year ago, I had a conversation with some of my friends about what I do for a living. When I told them I work for a public pension plan, their reaction was not quite what I expected. They began telling me pension plans are old fashioned and the best type of retirement plan was the 401(k). They all work in private industry and are seeing fewer private employers provide pension plans. So, their assumption is, of course, the 401(k) is better.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Missouri Municipal League’s Partner in Governance Conference. This event is a one-day gathering of the minds, with partners from the Missouri Municipal League, the Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri, the Missouri Association of Counties, the Missouri School Boards' Association and FOCUS-St. Louis, in which local leaders discuss various challenges and best practices in local government. While the entire day was outstanding (and I’d highly recommend you attend next year), there were a few highlights for me that I think are particularly noteworthy.
When I started working at LAGERS several years ago, I didn't get it. I didn't understand just how valuable the services local government workers provide are to my every day life. Now, 8 years later, I have an entirely different perspective. I now know when a park is clean, it didn't magically clean itself. Instead, there are people, like Joe Schulte (video below), who work hard for my local community to make our parks clean and safe.
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.