LAGERS retirees contribute to the economies of cities and counties all across our great state. Just take a look at this snapshot of the economic impact created by the retirees of Northwest Missouri. In 2017, over $15 million was paid to our retirees, who then in turn spent money in our communities with their LAGERS benefits.
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?”
I recently had the chance to speak with the board of a prospective employer, and a common question came up about the relationship between investment performance and contribution rates. Coincidentally, I planned to share this blog post and video explaining the relationship between LAGERS investment performance and employer contribution rates.
Above: 2016 annual benefits paid to LAGERS' benefit recipients in Missouri.
This post was originally published in November, 2017. For more information on how pensions benefit everyone, go to showmesecurity.molagers.org
Employee benefits are often thought to be for the betterment of one and only one group - the employees. Rather than simply providing a salary, employers use benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation to build morale, keep good workers, and to attract new workers. For these reasons, it makes sense to think that compensation other than salary are good for the employees and only the employees. But there is more to it than that.
A publicly-held company must make decisions that will positively affect the bottom line so the shareholders may profit. Likewise, government leaders serve the taxpayers and make decisions to enhance the prosperity of their communities. Decisions about employee benefits, therefore, cannot only be valuable to the employee, but also must make sense for the shareholder or taxpayer. In other words, all stakeholders must get some return on the investment for employee benefits.
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.
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.
Let’s think about these two words for a moment…”covet” (to yearn to possess or have something) vs. “begrudge” (to envy or resent the good fortune of someone, to be unhappy or upset because someone has something you think they do not deserve).
Since the Great Recession in 2008, warnings of an impending pension crisis have been splashed across the business pages of newspapers across the country. Despite these boisterous decrees, America’s public pension funds are stable. We explore the roots behind the false pension crisis narrative and examine the facts.