Ken Sarni

Tax Information for Members of the Military
Source: IRS

This page provides tax information for current and former military personnel who served in the United States armed forces, uniform services, and under limited circumstances, support organizations.

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Curious Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Retirement
Source: Center for Retirement Research

Curious Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Retirement is an interactive program on behavioral impediments to retirement planning. A host leads users through exercises designed to create an “Aha!” moment as they relate to the behaviors. The host then explains how the behavior can hinder retirement planning and how to cope with it. Users can then go to a “Learn More” page with additional information in various media formats.

Interactive Program

 


 

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Understanding the Cyber Threat
Source: AT&T & NCSA

 

AT&T and the National Cyber Security Alliance are leading a long-term strategy to increase cybersecurity awareness among elected officials. As part of that effort, we commissioned the Governing Institute—an organization that helps public sector leaders govern more effectively through research, decision support and executive education—to survey 103 state legislators and their staff to understand how lawmakers view their role in this critical issue. The results, published at www.governing.com/cyberfindings, show that awareness is growing. A vast majority of respondents said protecting state computer networks is a priority. But the findings also indicate awareness isn’t necessarily turning into action, at least not yet.

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State and Local Pension Plan Funding Sputters in FY 2016
Source: Center for Retirement Research

The brief’s key findings are:

  • In 2016, the funded ratio of state and local pensions declined under both old and new accounting rules.
  • This decline reflected steady growth in liabilities and slow growth in assets due to poor stock performance.
  • More recently, the revival of the stock market is helping plan assets recover, with funded ratios expected to improve in 2017.
  • But, looking further ahead, funding ratios are projected to remain essentially flat due largely to the current approach of calculating required contributions.
  • Thus, to achieve more meaningful progress, plans need to establish contribution levels that will actually reduce unfunded liabilities.

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2017 Mid-Year Federal & State Pension Legislation Update Webcast
Source: YouTube

 

On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, Hank Kim, executive director of NCPERS, Bailey Childers, executive director of the National Public Pension Coalition (NPPC), and Anthony Roda, partner at Williams & Jensen, discussed state and federal legislation impacting public pensions.

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Corporate Employers Flee Pensions With Gap Topping $375 Billion
Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

The vast majority of S&P 500 companies don’t have enough money set aside to meet all their obligations to current and future retirees. There’s a total gap of at least $375 billion for the 200 largest plans. This is how they got here.

1975 to 1999

Assets in U.S. pension plans go from $186 billion to more than $2 trillion. A booming stock market helps the funds grow, since many are largely invested in equities.

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Retirement Calculators: 3 Good Options
Source: Center for Retirement Research

The Internet offers many free calculators to baby boomers wanting to get a better handle on whether their retirement finances are on track.

The operative words here are “on track,” because each calculator has strengths and weaknesses.  Calculators aren’t capable of providing a bullet-proof analysis of the complex factors and future unknowns that will determine whether someone has done the planning and saving required to ensure a financially secure retirement.

With that caveat, Squared Away found three calculators, listed below, that do a good job. They met our criteria of being reliable, free, and easy to use.  Many other calculators were quickly eliminated, because they were indecipherable or created issues on the first try.

 

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Another blow for heartland workers: Slashed pensions
Source: MoneyWatch

 

February was a bad month for Larry Burruel and thousands of other retired Ohio iron workers. His monthly take-home pension was cut by more than half from $3,700 to $1,600.

Things have been rough in the Rust Belt, but this was a particularly powerful punch in the pocketbook for Burruel, who started in the trade at 19 and worked 36 years before opting for early retirement to make way for younger workers. Unfortunately, this sagging industry doesn’t have enough younger workers to pay for retirees like Burruel, whose pension plan is in what the U.S. Treasury Department calls “critical and declining status.”

Burruel and the 4,000 members of his Cleveland Iron Workers Local 17 pension plan are the canaries in the coal mine as far as pension cutbacks go. At least 50 Midwestern pension plans — mostly the kind jointly administered by trustees for a labor union and a group of employers — are in this decrepit condition. Several plan sponsors have already applied to the Treasury Department to cut back retirees’ allotments.

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Golf Registration for the 2017 IPPFA MidAmerican Pension Conference is NOW Open
Source: IPPFA

2017 Golf Registration Form

Golf will be held at The Courses at Forest Park, St. Louis, MO.

Golf has been played in Forest Park since 1897. Built after the 1904 World’s Fair, the original 27-hole course was designed and constructed in phases by Scotsman Robert Foulis. Foulis started out as an assistant to Tom Morris at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The original “flat or Eisenhower Nine” opened in 1912. A second nine was completed the following year, and the third nine was finished in 1915. The original set-up was intended for the “flat nine” to be the beginning nine, and then as players’ skills advanced, they would ‘graduate’ to the main 18-hole course. The Courses at Forest Park have played host to numerous championship golf events over the last nine decades, including the 1929 National Public Links Championship.

2017 Golf sponsorship form

 


 

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Public Pensions Provide a Secure Retirement
Source: National Public Pension Coalition

For a decade now since the Great Recession, special interests have waged a false-information campaign against public pensions. While not all of the motives are clear, one thing is certain: if the over $3.8 trillion in assets managed by state and local pension funds were converted into individual 401(k)-style accounts, someone on Wall Street would stand to reap enormous financial benefit. In California alone, CalPERS, the 7th largest pension fund in the world, manages $295 billion in assets. The playbook to convert public pensions to 401(k)s has changed, but the lack of honesty in the arguments has not.

As with virtually all other investors, public pension funds suffered losses on their investments during the Great Recession. By one count, the financial markets lost 33% of their value from 2008 to 2009. Undeniably, this affected the funded status of public pension plans. According to data collected by the Center for Retirement Research, the average funded ratio of public pension plans declined from 86% in 2007 to 77% in 2009. Some states, like Idaho, suffered major drops in funded status while others, like North Carolina, saw smaller drops. Regardless, every pension plan was impacted.

 

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