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Welcome Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP to IPPFA.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP is an established law firm with an international reach and reputation. Founded by alumni of large firms, SFMS began as a litigation boutique over ten years ago and has grown into a full-service firm with offices located strategically throughout the United States and strong international affiliations.

SFMS attributes its significant growth and consistent success to a singular focus on identifying and meeting our clients’ needs and objectives. Our client base, like our practice, is diverse and varied. Those clients include small and midsize business entities, multinational corporations, institutional investors, broker-dealers, benefit funds and plan administrators, financial institutions, governmental entities, labor unions and individuals, including corporate executives, employees, consumers, retirees and whistleblowers. Our clients consistently tell us that our work compares quite favorably to that of larger firms in terms of quality, creativity, cost effectiveness and results.

 

 

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Why Pensions Matter
Source: NPPC

Pensions, in the broadest sense of the term, have existed since ancient Rome. Soldiers in the
Roman army could earn pensions through their military service. The value of these pensions to Roman
soldiers helped to maintain the power of emperors such as Augustus. Pensions for military service have
continued to exist in one form or another in the two thousand years since.

Public pensions for teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other civilian public servants in the United
States are a more recent development. In fact, public pensions as we know them are just over one
hundred years old. Governments began offering pensions because they are the most effective and costefficient
way for working families to prepare for retirement. Unfortunately, many people today have
forgotten the true value of pensions and why they are so important. This report will explore the history
of defined benefit public pensions in the United States, why they were implemented in the first place,
and why they continue to remain today.

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Welcome AndCo Consulting to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome AndCo Consulting to IPPFA.

AndCo Consulting is an independent, SEC registered institutional investment consulting firm. We serve as a fiduciary to each of our clients, without exception or caveat, while assisting and guiding them in making important investment and plan design decisions.

 

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Welcome Crystal Lake Fire Pension Fund to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome Crystal Lake Fire Pension Fund to IPPFA.

 

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Pensions are not pots of gold for irresponsible lawmakers
Source: The Hill

Pensions might look like a pot of gold to politicians right now, but they should go follow another rainbow if they want extra funds to pay state bills. Public pension funds need to stay right where they are.

Public pensions are in a good place. A recent study from NCPERS found that pension funding levels went up again in 2016, to an average of 76 percent. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College noted similar trends and expects average funding levels to approach 77-81 percent by 2018. Pensions have weathered the 2008 economic crisis, as they’re designed to do. But healthy pension systems now face another challenge with local governments.

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State Lawmakers look again at pension buyouts
Source: The State Journal-Register

Illinois lawmakers are again considering proposals that would allow some participants in state government’s pension systems to take a lump-sum payout in lieu of regular annuity payments.

Buyout plans are part of pension discussions in both the House and Senate, all of which are in preliminary stages. But Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, chairman of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, thinks the ideas have merit.

“I’m a fan of the buyout,” Martwick said of various House proposals. “I think those are truly what would be constitutional because they amount to a true free consideration.”

In other words, he said, participation in them is voluntary and there is a “tangible benefit” for those who partake. […]

Under Batinick’s proposal, a participant’s payout is based on the net present value of a person’s pension. That means the amount of money the pension system needs now to cover a person’s estimated retirement benefit, assuming that amount will grow over the years. Anyone thinking of participating in the buyout would have to get a calculation of the net present value from the appropriate pension system. The amount would be reduced by a certain percentage as a condition of getting the buyout.

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Do Households Have a Good Sense of Their Retirement Preparedness?
Source: CRR

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Do households in the National Retirement Risk Index identified as “at risk” recognize their situation?
  • The analysis finds that almost 60 percent of households have a good sense of whether or not they are on track for retirement.
  • But about 20 percent incorrectly think they are prepared, in large part because they do not recognize that their 401(k) savings are inadequate.
  • These households are in the most danger of saving too little, but even those who know they are unprepared may not take action unless prodded.

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Welcome Nyhart Actuary & Employee Benefits to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome  Nyhart Actuary & Employee Benefits to IPPFA.

Nyhart is one of the nation’s leading independent actuary and employee benefits consulting firms. Nyhart is a growth-driven consulting firm composed of actuaries, consultants, attorneys, accountants, and administrators who advise clients from public and private companies on financial matters related to pensions, retirement benefits, compensation strategies and other employee benefits.

 

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Letter to U.S. Congress from President McNamee
Source: IPPFA

Letter to U.S. Congress from President McNamee concerning the Medicare program under the American Health Care Act.

Public Safety Medicare Choice Act

BACKGROUND AND OUTLINE OF LEGISLATION

Our nation’s first responders – police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel – risk their lives in the service of their communities for modest pay. They look forward to the benefits their pension plans provide in their retirement years. Most public employees are eligible to retire after 20-25 years of service and most in physically and mentally demanding occupations, such as law enforcement and firefighters, retire in their mid-50s. In most cases, the average savings accrued by defined benefit pension plans allow first responders to enjoy approximately 50 percent of their yearly salary in retirement.

Unfortunately, the rising costs associated with employer-sponsored health care are gradually eroding retirement income and the peace of mind that comes with it. For retirement systems designed to provide pensions only, offering a health care plan has become burdensome and is putting pension reserves at risk. Public plans are finding it increasingly difficult to fund retiree health care and are scaling back or eliminating plans. One simple way we could immediately usher in an affordable option is through a universal benefit already accessible in every state – Medicare.

Medicare, if made available at an earlier age, would provide more plan choices for eligible retired public safety officers who have already contributed to the Part A program. Public safety officers, who have earned 40 or more credit quarters for Medicare Part A, should be able to not only buy into Part A (hospital insurance), but also Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug coverage).

Providing this early avenue into Medicare will help ensure that our first responders have the dignified retirement they’ve earned.

Outline of Legislation

Eligibility –

  1. An eligible retired public safety officer age 55 or older, who does not have access to any local, state and federal health plan or an affordable employer-sponsored health plan, may elect into Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C or Part D.

Definitions –

  1. ‘Eligible retired public safety officer’ means an individual who, by reason of disability or attainment of normal retirement age, is separated from service as a public safety officer.
  2. Consistent with the definition contained in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, 42 U.S.C. 3796b(9)(A),(D), ‘public safety officer’ means—

(A) an individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, with or without compensation, as a law enforcement officer (i.e. police, corrections, probation, parole and judicial officers), as a firefighter, or as a chaplain; or

(B) a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew who, as authorized or licensed by law and by the applicable agency or entity, is engaging in rescue activity or in the provision of emergency medical services.

‘Affordable health coverage’ means an employer-based health plan covering only the employee that costs 9.66 percent or less of the employee’s household income and the “minimum value” standard of the ACA that pays at least 60 percent of the total cost of medical services for a standard population to include substantial coverage of physician and inpatient hospital services.

Supplemental Insurance –

  1. An eligible retired public safety officer, who elects to participate in Medicare under this section, may purchase supplemental insurance plans (Medigap policies for Medicare Part A and Part B).

Means Testing –

  1. An eligible retired public safety officer, who elects to participate in Medicare under this section, shall be subject to current Medicare means testing.
  1. Cost Sharing –-
  2. (a) Enrollees under this Act shall be included in base calculations for Medicare premium levels.

 

 

 


 

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How has the Shift to 401(k) Plans Affected Retirement Income?
Source: CRR

The brief’s key findings are:

  • This analysis addresses how the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans affected retirement wealth and income during 1992-2010.
  • The results show:
    • total retirement wealth from employer plans was roughly flat, and this wealth is now more skewed toward those with more education;
    • the income produced by each dollar of retirement wealth has declined, despite a tendency for workers to retire later; and
    • the amount of income relative to a worker’s earnings has declined.
  • The bottom line is that employer plans are providing less retirement income today than in the past.

 Full Article


 

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