Saturday, June 30, 2018

PERS Needs Mo' Money

The AP's Jeff Amy reported in the Sun-Herald that contribution rates for PERS will increase:


Public agencies in Mississippi will have to contribute another $100 million toward worker pensions beginning July 1, 2019, after a vote by the state Public Employees Retirement System's board.

Citing projected shortfalls, the board voted Tuesday to increase the share of a worker's salary that an employer must give from 15.75 percent to 17.4 percent.

Workers will continue contributing 9 percent of their own paychecks.

The retirement plan covers employees of state agencies, public schools, public universities, community colleges, cities, counties and some other entities such as hospitals....

The vote followed months of discussion, triggered by forecasts that the system wouldn't meet a long-term goal of assets equal to at least 80 percent of liabilities by 2042....

Outgoing Executive Director Pat Robertson said the change means current forecasts show the plan will be 100 percent funded by 2047. That could change, though, if the board again lowers its projected rate of investment returns.

"Even though we are projected to have a good growth of 9 percent this year, there is going to be pressure to reduce the assumed rate of return," Robertson said.

The system's decision to lower the assumed rate of return from 8 percent a year to 7.75 percent that contributed to the need to increase funding. The system's actuaries presented calculations Tuesday showing the retirement plan would have only 69 percent of the assets needed to fund benefits in 2047 if the rate of return falls to 7.25 percent.....
Rest of article.

Kingfish note: Not going to say a word.  Not one word. 

I don't know what the Rate of Return for the 12 months from July 1 to June 30 is but here is the S&P 500 during the same period.


Remember two facts.  The number of retirees supported by PERS went over 100,000 for the first time ever last year.  The deficit between contributions and payments is nearly one billion dollars and has decreased a single time in over ten years. 

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

The coveted 13th check is one of if not the major point. I’ve had friends tell me their 13th check is almost equal to their total annual benefit.
True or not that’s what I’ve been told.

Anonymous said...

5:13 wanna see my 13th check? Bend over :p

cholly said...

Equity (stock) returns are not going to be the problem. The problem (a very big problem) will come from the bond returns. Low interest rates are here for a long time. A prudent allocation to low returning bonds will make the investment return projections too lofty.

Anonymous said...

The worst teacher in the worst school district will have a much better retirement than mine.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain the 13th check deal to me?

Anonymous said...

Has PERS ever considered scaling back the benefits it provides instead of just asking for more money?

Anonymous said...

"Even though we are projected to have a good growth of 9 percent this year, "

I think I found your problem, skipper. Since Trump took office in January 2017, by December 31 my various retirement accounts from a couple of previous jobs all earned at least 20% and one made 31%. If the state thinks 9% is "good growth" I can see why they will never keep up with the people investing their own retirement funds their own way. And I only invest conservatively in plain-vanilla index funds.

Anonymous said...

This "13th" check thing is a ruse for stupid people. Every year, PERS goes up in benefits (perceived inflation). Many people take this increase as a "13th check" and comes around Christmas so financially challenged (ignorant) people that spend every penny they have, every month, view it as a windfall. I take mine every month, and as a matter of fact it just went up this month (you know...the inflation thing). SMDH at how so many people are clueless on the "13th check" ruse.

Member of Legislature said...

Run for the hills!

Anonymous said...

5:37 - That's obviously true. Consider retiring on $10,000 after 25 years and twenty three years later your COLA is $10,250, making your annual retirement $20,250 plus $12,750 social security. And you're part timing at Wal-Mart, the package store or ACE Hardware. What a life!

Add that to what 'you've been told'.

Anonymous said...

To 5:37:

OK. For simplicity's sake, let's say that your friends are likely now octogenarians who retired 30 years ago at an annual salary of $30,000 (not too shabby for a State job in 1988) with an annual PERS benefit of around $15,000. Now in 2018 they are living on their $15,000 annual benefit plus their 13th check (COLA) of $15,000 or $30,000 total.

Recipients of a 13th check forego a monthly COLA amount and receive an annual 13th check instead. The same total amount is received, it's just paid in a different manner.

You can go to dollartimes.com or another inflation calculator at bls.gov and see how your friends are doing when inflation is considered. I get $32,043 when I plug in the numbers. The COLA varied some during that time frame but the calculation will give you a ballpark idea of how they are doing.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

If the whole 13th check thing is going to make the whole shebang struggle so, it needs to be done away with. And this is coming from somebody who's eligible for retirement in 3 short years. Come on people, let's get our act together for posterity's sake. It's just not that difficult. Who the hell is making the decisions here.

Anonymous said...

I think PERS should be done away with all together. Let the public employees enjoy the same retirement 99% of the rest of us enjoy, taking control of our own retirement plan.

Anonymous said...

They have to do something, or the plan would go broke. Glad they are finally making changes to put it on a better footing. It would be awful for the state to default on its obligations.

Anonymous said...

It’s a house of cards....built on sand....with fake stucco

Anonymous said...

So the PERS Board - which consists of retired beneficiaries of the system - decides thst the taxpayers have to pay more - AGAIN - but there will not be a raise in what the employers have to pay. Of course, there could be no timing correlation between the fact that they make this decision before the legislative session when all the legislators want to get reelected, and none of them will have the gonads to buck this theft from the taxpayers. They are too afraid of the retirees,and the state employees and their voting block.

Anonymous said...

The pers board needs an overhaul and new leadership. They got more problems than just this rate increase.

Anonymous said...

PERS must be reformed. Sadly no politician has the fortitude to tackle this themselves. Form a coalition and stop punting on the problem. Extend the collection age to 62. Defined benefit plans are losers. Convert to 401K like plan.

Anonymous said...

The legislature needs to reduce benefits.

Anonymous said...

I worked three years for the state 2009-2012, but eventually transitioned into a federal job. Thought about keeping my PERS just in case I decided to return to state employment (after federal retirement). Rolled my PERS over into a private account instead and it made over 20% last year. Washed my hands clean of PERS and no regrets.

Anonymous said...

I worked for the state for a little over 20 years and had an offer in the private sector I just couldn't refuse. Unlike many state employees, I lived within my means and managed to save and invest a considerable sum outside of PERS and Deferred Comp. I just met with my financial planner, and we agreed that if I would have had individual control of the contributions made to PERS in my name, even considering taxes and market fluctuations, I'd be a minimum of 21% better off right now.

It's a shame that state employees are willing to accept a 9% return when there are much better options available. And, to say that financial literacy among state employees is lacking is a gross understatement - many of them do not even know how to balance their checkbook or effectively project and forecast for major expenditures.

Defined benefit plans are a thing of the past; they lack flexibility and creativity, and are often administered by people with little to knowledge about how money and markets work.

Anonymous said...

We who are in the private sector, self employed mainly, managed to weather the Obama Recession that HE caused. Not Bush. I now realize that I will not be able to retire until the age of 75 or closer to 80, if I want to retire at all or if I actually could. I used up my retirement during January 2009 to January 2017 to keep the business afloat. Hey, while we are at it I spoke to an insurance company last week for a group policy. (Yes, I could not afford health insurance because I couldn’t keep this that and the other as Slick Bammy said) and for 3 people it was going to be $2,600 per month. I’m wondering what kind of health plan these State employees have who also have no accountability for anything they say or do. Can anyone remember what happened to the Unionized Auto manufacturing? Too much going out on retirement and health benefits and it drove the industry into the ground. I know, I know.... one of you will have some smart aleck quip to come back with. But the truth hurts doesn’t it?

Anonymous said...

You can call it the “employer share” but eventually all it means is that no raises should be expected for several more years. It’s on the backs of the employees either way....whether they raise contributions or cut benefits.

And PERs can’t cut benefits. Only the legislature can.

Anonymous said...

Everybody always wants to attach the State employee who makes $25,000 a year, but nobody holds the legislature accountable for SLRP.

Anonymous said...

PERS would be totally solvent had the legislature not boosted benefits when the market was booming. When was the COLA implemented? That got the formula out of whack. And yes, it is administered by people that really don't know what they are doing...starting with the legislature, then the PERS board and the executive team.

Kill the 13th check and the thing is fine.

Kingfish said...

No fortitude? The two legislators who even mentioned reforming PERS, Mayo and Collins, got beat. Don't think the rest of those solons didn't pay attention.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why retirees get a COLA and current state employees do not. There should be one retirement program for all state employees instead of separate ones for MHP and Legislators. By the way, the state's share for MHP is 37%.

Anonymous said...

11:10 has the most reasonable comment so far.

Anonymous said...

Guaranteed pension plans are unsustainable - bottom line. They are just another pyramid scheme like social security.

This is why they're no longer found in the private sector.

Some hard decisions need to be made sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

7:57 please explain how obama caused the recession. I’d love to hear it.

Anonymous said...

6:53 sez, "...many of them do not even know how to balance their checkbook or effectively project and forecast for major expenditures."

This survey you ran to reach that conclusion, can you publish it? Meantime, did your survey compare those inabilities with the inabilities of the average Mississippian?

Admit it....you pulled that statement outcho ass, like anything else you post here.

Anonymous said...

This is unsustainable. The actuaries know this, too. This is crony capitalism for money managers and various funds. The actuaries should do a CBA on this tax and how many more times it can be raised before working at McDonalds becomes the route of preference.

Anonymous said...

"As is", yes probably unsustainable. But no, defined benefit plans are not pyramid schemes nor unsustainable. The problem is when you promise a level of benefits but don't fund the plan properly. A couple of tweaks and the thing is fine, but nobody has the guys to make the tweaks.

Reel in the 3% raise retirees get and quit letting people retire prior to 60 and the unfunded liability goes almost complete away. No more 3% raises for anybody. Watch the math change over night.

Anonymous said...

"The worst teacher in the worst school district will have a much better retirement than mine."

Average teacher in MS makes 41,490. PERS should yield above 50% of that, on average.

If you are not generating at least 20k a year out of your personal retirement account, sir, I would say it's likely you're not investing enough... or that you've invested poorly... or too late.

In any case, don't besmirch a teacher just because one of the above 3 happened. Snowflake.

Anonymous said...

Nancy Collins was beaten because of pers. Employees, former employees and their families are a big segment of voters. PERS is here to stay. Some people went to work for the state because of pers.

Anonymous said...

11:41, explain how Obama didn’t resolve it. We are all waiting to hear that.

Anonymous said...

Defined benefit plans are unsustainable. That's why the private sector has long gone the way of defined contribution plans. Airlines, car manufacturers and others that did have defined benefit systems had to be bailed out by the federal government. Read up on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It bails out failed pension plans every year. The state of Mississippi can't afford PERS and should switch to defined contribution plan.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:30, what you suggest is politically impossible.

A political impossibility is the same as any other kind.

Anonymous said...

12:03, I saw personally how my coworkers mismanaged money - I saw them use travel advances to buy furniture, I saw them pawn agency property to pay bills, they complained about overdraft fees, and bought cars they couldn't afford and then falsified travel vouchers to make up the difference. I reported each one of these observations to agency execs and they did nothing...

You don't need a study to observe how stupid people are.

Anonymous said...

12:30...whatta you mean 'quit letting people retire at 60'?

If I've got 41 years in the system at age 60, who the hell are YOU to tell me I shouldn't be able to retire?

Meanwhile, you're into your eighth year driving that NAPA truck.

Anonymous said...

The 13th check is a myth. Every PERS recipient receives an annual cost of living
increase to their retirement payable monthly. For some reason a number of retirees
choose to have PERS hold on to their accumulated cost of living increases for 11 months
and pay it to the retiree at the end of the year. It doesn't make sense but this is Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

6:47 If you left state service after 3 years you were never vested. Your are eligible for $0.00!

Anonymous said...

7:34 - He said nothing about being vested or claiming to retire on PERS. If he left his money in his PERS account, it was his to do with as he chose. Leave it alone, draw it out or roll it. As long as you drew one paycheck, if there was a PERS deduction on that stub, the money is yours to draw down any time you make the decision. And he got/gets an annual statement from PERS reflecting his account regardless of how long he worked in a job where PERS contributions were deducted.

Anonymous said...

7:05, learn how to read. I said "prior to 60". No way people should draw a lifetime of benefits starting at age 45.

And what's wrong with driving a NAPA truck? Are we not to respect people that get up early in the morning and work for NAPA? Is that where we are now? Show disrespect for other people's line of work?

Anonymous said...

Driving a truck for NAPA might be an awesome job. You would get to see all the rockets and maybe an astronaut sometimes.

John Dough said...

There's SO much "misinformation" here I don't know where to start. But for instance, let's look at these:



July 1, 2018 at 6:53 AM:

"It's a shame that state employees are willing to accept a 9% return."

Can you show us the calculations that indicate that a typical PERS-covered employee/retiree is getting a 9% rate of return?



July 1, 2018 at 7:26 PM:

"The 13th check is a myth. Every PERS recipient receives an annual cost of living increase to their retirement payable monthly. For some reason a number of retirees choose to have PERS hold on to their accumulated cost of living increases for 11 months and pay it to the retiree at the end of the year. It doesn't make sense but this is Mississippi."

Those electing the single-check (13th check) option receive it in the MIDDLE of the FY, not at the end. So the choices are to receive it in monthly installments, beginning in July, or annually, in December. So the 13th check option involves holding half the money for 1-6 months, and paying the other half 1-6 months early.



July 2, 2018 at 4:33 AM:

"7:34 - He said nothing about being vested or claiming to retire on PERS. If he left his money in his PERS account, it was his to do with as he chose. Leave it alone, draw it out or roll it. As long as you drew one paycheck, if there was a PERS deduction on that stub, the money is yours to draw down any time you make the decision."

It is my understanding that by law one CANNOT withdraw his/her PERS contributions as long as one remains in the PERS-covered job. If one leaves PERS-covered employment, THEN he/she can withdraw his/her contributions, but not any earnings from them, unless the person is eligible to retire and draw benefits.

Anonymous said...

10:51 - Your claim that the PERS Board 'consists of retired beneficiaries of the system' could not be more wrong.

Here is a list of those who comprise the Board:

The 10-member PERS Board of Trustees includes the State Treasurer, a gubernatorial appointee who is a member of PERS, two retirees, two state employees, and one representative each of public schools and community colleges, institutions of higher learning, counties, and municipalities. With the exception of the State Treasurer and the gubernatorial appointee, members are elected to staggered six-year terms.

Anonymous said...

Collins and Mayo, there's two ghosts for you.

Anonymous said...

"7:05, learn how to read. I said "prior to 60". No way people should draw a lifetime of benefits starting at age 45."

Actually you're the one who should 'learn to read'. PERS handbooks and regulations are available via the internet for your viewing pleasure. This blog should not be your source of information on PERS. At least half of what you read here is misleading or flat incorrect. Google Mississippi PERS.

Who the hell are you to say who should be able to retire and when? If you work where there's a 401k or a pension or both, you can retire whenever you want after meeting a low floor level of service. You may not draw shit, but you can head to the house.

The government attempts to set the age at which people can and should retire. And they attempt to bump that up when their systems get in financial trouble. And now YOU come along and think you can do that as well.

You don't know this, but, under PERS, if you die before retiring or having drawn a certain amount of your contributions, your beneficiary gets the remainder....unlike under Social Security where you forfeit the whole damned thing you've put in over the years. Now you can bitch about that too.

If you have bills and can afford to pay them and can afford insurance at age 45 and can satisfy your mortgage, if you have one, you retire whenever the hell you want to. You may or may not draw a pension or company retirement or agency retirement or union benefits or Railroad Retirement....but the decision belongs to the individual. And if he's paid into a system for 25 years (or whatever the rules state), he's got it coming.

Anonymous said...

"The worst teacher in the worst school district will have a much better retirement than mine."

Maybe you should have been a P.E.Coach. Or a payroll clerk. Your is a perfect socialist mindset. Everybody should be equal. All income should be level. Nobody should have more than I have and if they do, take it and give me some.

Anonymous said...

"SMDH at how so many people are clueless on the "13th check" ruse."

The only ones clueless about the '13th check' ruse are the ones who read this blog and otherwise know nothing about PERS. JJ has them all ginned up to believe the taxpayer is being ripped into sending all retires a magical, free check for Christmas, delivered by Santa Claus.

Every employee in the system and certainly every retiree understands what is commonly called the '13th check'. It got that name because a retiree receives 12 monthly electronic retirement deposits (checks) and those who choose to, receive the COLA on December 15, rather than factored into their monthly retirement check.

This has been explained here numerous times, but the low information crowd (who get their news here) don't bother to understand it. And the rest, who think all state employees are shit, won't understand it no matter how many attempts are made to explain it.

Kingfish said...

"JJ has them all ginned up"?

Show where I've done so. Where's the quotes or screenshots? I haven't really discussed the 13th check. It is a COLA that can be received every month or in one lump sum.

However, it is not really a cola because it is not tied to inflation. It is more of an automatic increase in pay that is compounded as well.

Keep on making up stuff about me.

Anonymous said...

"Do your own research. Check the archives!"

How many time have we heard that? lol....

Anonymous said...

@9:23 - AMEN! All us PERS retirees did was play by the rules that was handed us. All you private employees don't mind ragging us about the low pay we get for years but when we get a retirement that we HAD to pay into, you get your panties wadded. Tough shitskies. The minimum work years should have be 30 or maybe even 35 all along. I notice that no one mentions the lump-sum option. That probably was a bad idea and should be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

@ July 1, 2018 at 6:46 PM

"12:03, I saw personally how my coworkers mismanaged money - I saw them use travel advances to buy furniture, I saw them pawn agency property to pay bills, they complained about overdraft fees, and bought cars they couldn't afford and then falsified travel vouchers to make up the difference. I reported each one of these observations to agency execs and they did nothing..."

Then you should have gone to PEER with that level of unethical behavior, especially if agency execs were aware and did not take action.

Anonymous said...

10:44 "..All us PERS retirees did was play by the rules that was handed us."

(Just as any politician would)

Says it well.

Anonymous said...

It continues to amaze me that very few people discuss the fact that VERY few employment opportunities are being created in Mississippi. MDA, the job creation mechanism, is a train wreck. SB1523 sends a negative message regarding diversity and inclusion. Our best and brightest graduates are leaving the state. The legislature refuses to support infrastructure funding. Little coordination of workforce training efforts. AND the positive business tax climate cannot be utilized to attract industry because of everything noted. THAT IS WHY PERS IS SUFFERING! No job creation, no new money in the system, no revenue generated. If Mississippi had effective and visionary leadership expanding and attracting business AND was providing skilled labor, no one would even mention PERS or the “13th check.” Pathetic.

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