Ken Sarni

National Retirement Risk Index Shows Modest Improvement in 2016
Source: CRR

 

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Between 2013 and 2016, the National Retirement Risk Index improved modestly, dropping from 52 percent to 50 percent of working-age households.
  • The improvement was driven mainly by rising home prices, with stock market gains also contributing.
  • At the same time, Social Security’s rising “Full Retirement Age” and declining interest rates served as a headwind against greater progress.
  • The bottom line is that retirement security remains a major challenge that requires today’s workers to save more and/or work longer.

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Golf Registration for the 2018 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference is NOW Open
Source: IPPFA

2018 Golf Registration Form

Golf will be held at WeaverRidge Golf Club, Peoria, IL.

What is perhaps Illinois’ most spectacular Championship golf course is set in rolling hills and forested valleys, surrounded by the beautiful homes of WeaverRidge. This is a community unrivaled anywhere in Central Illinois, planned for gracious living and challenging golf for players of all ages and abilities.

Masterfully created by Hurdzan-Fry to balance nature with design, WeaverRidge features multiple bent grass tees and fairways, fast and true greens, challenging and dramatic elevations and excellent practice facilities for those wishing to improve their game or just get warmed up before the round.

2018 Golf sponsorship form

 


 

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2017 Fiscal Analysis of the Downstate Police & Fire Pension Funds in Illinois
Source: CGFA

CGFA has issued 2 similar reports on the Downstate Police and Fire Funds: the Fiscal Analysis of the
Downstate Police and Fire Pension Funds in Illinois (P.A. 95-0950), which was last produced in
January 2015, and the Report on the Financial Condition of the Downstate Police and Fire Pension
Funds (P.A. 96-1495), which was last produced in May of 2015.

This Financial Condition report provides a catalogue of summary data for every single Police and Fire
fund for the last ten Fiscal Years. This report is being submitted to fulfill the Commission’s
responsibilities under P.A. 95-0950. Upon examination of the individual fund data that we received
from the DOI, a determination was made that the inconsistencies in available actuarial data across
various funds, and, at times, within certain funds from year-to-year, made the type of individual fund
report that was published in January of 2015 virtually impossible. The Commission will continue to
examine actuarial data that we obtain from DOI, and if the quality of the data improves to a degree that
such an individual fund analysis becomes possible, we will revert back to the previous format in future
reports.

 

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3 Signs You’re Not Saving Enough for Retirement
Source: The Motley Fool

 

Nearly 40% of Americans are losing sleep at night worrying about saving for retirement. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is almost identical to the percentage of Americans who have nothing saved for their senior years .

Concerns about how you’ll survive as a senior are not unfounded. There’s a serious retirement crisis brewing, with median retirement-account balances throughout the U.S. valued at just $5,000, and studies showing we spend more time planning for vacations than for retirement. In fact, Americans may actually not be worried enough about retirement.

If you’re stashing away cash, you may be one of the millions of Americans who aren’t concerned because you think you’re covered — but are you really? To take stock of your retirement situation, consider three red flags that suggest you’re not saving enough.

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Canadian pension plans end 2017 nearly fully funded – Mercer
Source: P&I

Canadian public and corporate defined benefit plans were a median 97% funded as of Dec. 29, according to Mercer (Canada), up 4 percentage points from the end of 2016 but unchanged from three months ago.

Separately, Mercer’s pension health index, which tracks the typical Canadian defined benefit plan based on 100% funding as of Jan. 1, 1999, was 106% funded at the end of the fourth quarter, the same as the end of the previous quarter but also 4 percentage points higher than a year earlier, Mercer said in a news release.

Surging equity markets helped maintain overall funding in the fourth quarter. Partially mitigating equity gains were long-term interest rates that fell 30 basis points in the quarter.

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The Funded Status of Local Pensions Inches Closer to States
Source: CRR

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Since 2001, the aggregate funded status of local pension plans has lagged behind that of state plans, but the gap has been closing recently for two reasons.
  • First, local plans continue to receive more of their required contributions than state plans and are a bit more likely to use stringent funding methods.
  • Second, in recent years, local plans have earned stronger investment returns than state plans, perhaps partly due to a lower allocation to alternative investments.
  • Despite this progress, many local plans – like their state counterparts – still face significant funding challenges.

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2017 Public Pension Funds Investments
Source: NASRA

 

Public pension fund assets are invested in diversified portfolios that include public equities; bonds issued by the U.S. and foreign governments and corporations; real estate; alternatives, such as private equities, hedge funds, and infrastructure; and other asset classes. Over time, earnings on investments constitute the largest portion of public pension fund revenues, which also include contributions from employers and employees.

Public pension asset allocations typically are developed as part of a process that considers the plan’s liability stream, or projected benefit payments, expected revenue from contributions, and investment earnings.

Based on the latest information from the Public Fund Survey, the average public pension fund asset allocation is as follows:

  • Public equities: 47.6%
  • Fixed income: 23.2%
  • Real estate: 6.6%
  • Alternative investments: 18.3%
  • Cash & Other: 4.3%

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3 Reasons to File for Social Security on Time
Source: The Motley Fool

Few topics are more controversial among financial planners than when you should claim your hard-earned Social Security benefits. Sometimes, claiming as soon as you possibly can is a smart move, while other times, waiting until the last possible moment can pay off for you and your loved ones. Somewhere in between is what the Social Security Administration considers to be “on time,” but is it the right time for you? You’ll learn about three reasons it might be, but first, let’s look more closely at what on time really means.

When is “on time” for Social Security?

The SSA looks at the definition of full retirement age to determine whether someone is filing on time. Your full retirement age depends on your year of birth, and you’ll find a quick guide in the chart below.

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2017 Public Pension Funding Study
Source: Milliman White Paper

 

The Milliman Public Pension Funding Study annually explores the funded status of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans and reports the plan sponsor’s own assessment of how well funded a plan is. As of June 30, 2017, the aggregate funded ratio is estimated to be 70.7% as assets experienced healthy growth. Market performance since the last fiscal year ends have been strong, and we estimate that aggregate plan assets have jumped to $3.44 trillion as of June 30, 2017.

 

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Don’t Dismantle Public Pensions Because They Aren’t 100 Percent Funded
Source: NCPERS

Have you ever heard that policymakers want to close participation in a pension plan to all new hires? How about cutting benefits and increasing employee contributions, or converting defined-benefit pensions into do-it-yourself defined-contribution plans?

In the last decade or so, state and local policymakers have been doing exactly these things. In essence, they have been slowly dismantling public pensions. Why? Because, they argue, pension plans are underfunded and cannot be sustained. They also argue that taxpayers cannot afford public pensions. These are misguided arguments and actions. Ability to pay depends on whether an entity can meet its cash flow needs and whether the total assets of the entity – the public employer – are a reasonable fraction of its total liabilities.1

We have addressed the issue of whether taxpayers can afford public pensions in our earlier research,2 which shows that public pensions impose little or no burden on taxpayers. If anything, we have demonstrated that public pensions are revenue-neutral or revenue-positive. In this study, we will focus on whether the ability of public pension plans to meet their benefit obligations has anything to do with their current underfunded status.

New research shows that funding status has little correlation with a pension fund’s ability to pay the promised benefits. Building on Tom Sgouros’s recent work,3 John Mctighe et al.4 argue that full funding of public pensions is not only a misguided goal but also waste of taxpayer money. As long as annual contributions and investment income exceed benefit payments, pension funds can continue to operate in perpetuity regardless of their funding status. Tom Sgouros, of Brown University, demonstrates this through a visual simulation.5

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