Pension Reform Should Not Focus On All-Or-None Solutions

Remember the good ole’ days when retirement planning for most Americans involved income being illustrated as a three-legged stool where the legs of the stool represented 1) income from a pension, 2) Social Security, and 3) personal savings? The thought was that as long as the stool has three legs it will be strong enough to support the person sitting on it. Take one of those legs away, and the stool becomes much less stable. Take two of the legs away and you end up on your back.

So why is it that every time I read about pension reform the proposed solution is always an all-or-none scenario where the pension will be shut down in favor of individual 401(k) accounts? This solution completely removes one leg of the stool (the pension) and reduces the retirement readiness for everyone affected. At LAGERS, we believe everyone who works hard and plays by the rules deserves a secure retirement and that this is best achieved by the three-legged stool approach.

When 401(k)s were first conceived in the late 1970’s, they were never intended to replace pensions, but to supplement the pension plan while allowing employees to defer taxable income. This was originally a great concept – one that furthered the notion of the three-legged stool. But over time, employers have eliminated their pensions and gone completely to the 401(k). The supplement has now become the main retirement income vehicle for many Americans. And it isn’t working. Even if their employer offers a 401(k), two-thirds of Americans aren’t using it to save for retirement.

One of the reasons Americans aren’t saving more is because investing as an individual is hard. Nearly seven of ten Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test. The average American worker is just not equipped to know how much to invest, what to invest in, when to re-allocate, and then how to turn their savings into a lifetime stream of income. Also, many Americans simply don’t have the means to go-it-alone in 401(k) accounts. The recommended retirement savings rate for an individual without a pension plan is north of 10% of income. For low-to-middle income workers, this is a daunting, if not impossible task. Pension funds, on the other hand, are invested by professionals and benefit from pooling so that one individual is not taking on all of the market risks.

Watch: Pension vs. 401(k), What’s the Difference?

One argument for moving away from pension plans in favor of 401(k)s is that the individual accounts cannot create unfunded liabilities. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Both pension plans and 401(k)s can create unfunded liabilities. An unfunded liability is established when liabilities exceed assets. In other words, the money you owe is more than the money you have on hand. The presence of an unfunded liability is not necessarily a problem so long as there is a steady, predictable, and disciplined approach to making the required contributions. Individual savers create unfunded liabilities when they fail to save enough for their retirement. When more and more individuals enter into retirement without adequate savings and huge personal unfunded liabilities their only option to sustain themselves in retirement will be to seek public assistance.

The bottom line is this: we need pensions and we need 401(k)s (and similar programs). We should not be seeking solutions that eliminate any one leg of the stool, but rather, to make those legs work together to provide a more stable base for all Americans.

 

Jeff Kempker
Manager of Member Services

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Decoding your Member Annual Statement

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Very soon, you will be receiving your Member Annual Statement. While this piece of paper may not seem like much, it is a beneficial tool in your retirement planning arsenal. As you may know, your LAGERS retirement benefit will provide you with a secure stream of income when you retire. Coupled with your own personal savings, Social Security, and other sources of income, your LAGERS benefit will help you achieve financial independence when you decide to retire in the future. So, one of the first things that your annual statement may help you do is plan your retirement saving efforts by you knowing how much to expect from your LAGERS benefit.

Your annual statement gives you a wide range of information to interpret. So, I thought I would discuss some of the terminology on your annual statement

  • Personal Information will include your hire date, your date of birth, your vested status and your total years of service credit.
  • What you’ve earned as of December 31, 2016 will show how much you have earned as of the end of the year. In other words, if you were to terminate employment in the near future, this is approximately what your benefit would be at normal retirement age. Keep in mind, this amount is based on your service to December 31, 2016 and as you continue to work, you continue to earn months of service credit that will increase your future benefit.
  • What you could earn if you keep working will show you a projection of your LAGERS benefit if you work until your retirement age. This section shows you how remaining with your current employer under LAGERS will assist you in becoming financially independent in retirement.
  • Beneficiaries this is your current beneficiary(s) listed with LAGERS. If you need to update your beneficiaries, you can do so online through the myLAGERS portal or submit a Change of Beneficiary Form from our website.
  • Your LAGERS Account Balance will show your employee contribution balance including any contributions for purchasing service credit. If you do not make any employee contributions or have not made contributions at any time in your career, the balance will not be listed. This account balance does not have an effect on your benefit amount as your benefit is determined using a formula.
  • Your last 10 years of Salary Reported to LAGERS will show the last 10 years of wages reported to LAGERS. If you do not have 10 years of service under LAGERS, it will show what wages have been reported for the service you have earned.

 

Member Annual Statement vs. Benefit Estimate. The annual statement is an excellent way to understand what your LAGERS benefit will pay you in the future and a great tool to help you plan your retirement savings. However, another tool at your disposal when you near retirement is a benefit estimate. The benefit estimate has some similar functions to your annual statement, but it is a benefit projection based on an estimated retirement date you provide. Additionally, benefit estimates illustrate each of your available payment options, including the partial lump sum and what your potential beneficiary would receive with each option. You can generate and save benefit estimates on the myLAGERS portal 24/7. If you’re not signed up for a myLAGERS account, simply click this link and click “Enroll Now.” However, if you do not wish to have a myLAGERS account, you can have an estimate mailed to you by calling the LAGERS office at 1-800-447-4334.

So, the next time you look at your retirement savings plan, be sure to look at your annual statement to help you know what to plan on from your LAGERS retirement benefit. As always, if you have any questions regarding your statement or any other aspect of your LAGERS benefit, feel free to contact the LAGERS office!

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Jeff Pabst, CRC Senior Communications Specialist

 

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We’ve got the answers to your LAGERS’ FAQs!

When it comes to the employee benefit package offered at your employer, all that information can feel overwhelming. Every benefit has different rules, different enrollment periods, different ‘must knows.’   It’s enough to make your head hurt. We get tons of questions emailed to us every month from members wanting clarification on a part of their LAGERS benefit, so  I thought this month, I would take a survey of some of the most commonly asked questions. Hopefully this week’s blog can help simplify at least a few of your FAQs when it comes to LAGERS!

What happens to my LAGERS benefit if I quit?

It is quite common these days for an employee to have two or three different jobs (or more!) during a working career. It comes as no surprise that one of the most common questions we get at LAGERS is ‘what happens to my benefit if I quit?’

Here are a couple must-knows when it comes to changing jobs:

  • Vesting is important. Make sure you know whether you are vested when you leave because vesting is what determines your options for your LAGERS benefits when quitting a job.
  • If you are vested, you can go ahead and apply for a deferred retirement benefit if you don’t think you will work in the LAGERS system again. That way when you are age-eligible for your benefit to begin, the paperwork is mostly taken care of already!
  • LAGERS doesn’t need anything from you if you plan to change jobs and are moving to another LAGERS employer. You will simply complete a new enrollment form at your new employer and your benefit will continue to grow, it’s that easy!
  • Beware of the member contribution refund. While this may be the best option for some, refunding your member contributions results in a forfeiture of service credit. This means that if you take a job in the future with another LAGERS employer, your service starts back at zero, and it will take you 5 more years of work to vest in a new benefit.

Check out our blog on this topic to learn more!

Is my benefit taxable?

Yes, LAGERS benefits are subject to both state and federal income tax. However, there are some great tax benefits that LAGERS retirees may be eligible to take advantage of, such as the Missouri Public Pension Exemption. Visit our website to learn more.

What is pension funding?

You hear a lot of buzz about pension funding in the media. Simply put, a pension funding ratio is the measure of assets verses liabilities, or how much money is on hand to pay out promised benefits. It is important for retirement plans to properly fund benefits, so that when employees retire, there is money available to pay those benefits. Your LAGERS system has extremely sound funding policies, and as a system, is almost 95% pre-funded! LAGERS members can retire with the peace of mind in knowing that their hard-earned benefit will always be there for them.

Are their hardship withdraws in LAGERS?

No, LAGERS does not allow hardship withdraws or refunds of contributions to employees actively working in the system. Why? Because LAGERS takes those contributions and puts that money to work in the markets. Because over 60% of a member’s benefit is funded through investment return of the system, having your contributions working for you 24/7 is crucial making sure that we can guarantee a secure retirement in the future.

How do I update my address or beneficiaries?

Easy! Log on to your myLAGERS account and both can be quickly updated online. If you’d prefer the paper forms, here they are:

Don’t see the answer to your LAGERS’ FAQs?  LAGERS staff is always here to answer your questions.  Feel free to call or email our office to speak with a LAGERS representative today!

Elizabeth Althoff
Communications Specialist

Guest Blogger: The Public Pension Blues

It has been taken as an article of faith for the past two or three decades that our public institutions are irreparably broken. Beginning with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981, both of our major political parties have worked tirelessly, it seems, to accelerate deregulation and privatization of many public goods and services, often without full regard for the consequences. By the time Bill Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” in 1996, conventional wisdom had hardened around the idea that private is better than public every time, and that deregulation would inevitably deliver a higher standard of living, and more efficient social services, for everyone.

Needless to say the jury is still out on that one. This past year bore witness to the consequences of this approach to governing as many voters fed up with slow wage growth and limited options in an economy that they were told had fully recovered from the Great Recession chose to turn their backs on the political establishment by electing the ultimate outsider as president, a TV personality with no experience whatsoever in government.

One casualty of the war on public services is pensions. I know, I know—there are more than a few public employees out there we’d love to put out to pasture, sooner rather than later. That’s what makes this such a sexy topic: without any decent incentive to retire, some old teachers are like old ballplayers. First, they move from behind the plate to the outfield because their offensive skills are good but their defensive skills are lacking. Then they move from the outfield to first base because their deteriorating defensive prowess has become too much of a liability to the team. Then they move from first base to the bench, where they can function reasonably well, the American League at least, as designated hitters—because when your main competition for a spot in the batting order is a pitcher, the bar is set pretty low. Sometimes it’s easier to trade on past glory than on current productivity.

But I digress. My point is that a good retirement incentive is good for everybody. It’s good for some veteran employees who may find their best days in the rearview mirror to get on while the getting’s good, and it’s good for younger workers trying to secure a place in a profession. I mean, would you rather watch an aging Jose Canseco flail at fastballs or watch the next Mike Trout get his chance? I know which one I’d prefer.

It may be this kind of thinking, in fact, that encouraged legislators in Pennsylvania, where I live, to increase benefits for public retirees back in the early 2000s, when times were good. It actually might have made some economic sense, too: if times were good—and let’s remember here that they were pretty good, and no one, I mean no one, not anyone, could have foreseen that any kind of bubble might burst at the time—then increasing benefits might have seemed like a great idea. After all, there were new technologies being employed in every sector that seemed to herald an era of stable growth and prosperity. In that kind of environment, it might have made sense to encourage more teachers and other public employees to retire and make way for new workers eager to take their place, and to give those outgoing employees a retirement benefit that would serve their needs in case the growth continued. It can be easy to forget that defined benefits can cut both ways.

Alas, it was not meant to be. We all know the story: the market crashed, people had their savings wiped out as real estate values tanked, and a new era of cynicism, anger, bitterness, and uncertainty set in. It didn’t help that Congress offered up $700 billion to prop up the banking system (although it should be noted that the next Congress also offered a huge stimulus that helped many everyday people, even if it was pilloried as a waste of money by free market ideologues terrified that government spending would only make things worse). The federal government may have favored stimulus but in the states the reaction was the opposite: everything was reined in. Some public schools, for example, still have not recovered. And then that same Congress faced an electoral bloodbath in 2010 from which it could be argued the country, and economic policy, have still not recovered.

But I’m digressing again. Here’s my second point: it’s easy to dismiss the decision by state lawmakers here in Pennsylvania to increase benefits for retirees as just another example of bad decision-making spurred by pressure being put on legislators by special interest groups like the much-reviled teachers unions. But there may be other explanations. In fact, our willingness to lean on this one explanation suggests that something is, in fact, very broken in our democracy. We’ve become so cynical that the only way we can process a decision that has far-reaching negative consequences is to attribute it to bad behavior. There’s good reason for that, I guess—you know what I mean if the words “Iraq,” “Watergate,” and “Lewinsky” mean anything to you—but at some point we have to be more circumspect on our analysis of how the political system works if we actually want it to work.

This is at the heart of discussions I’ve been having about pensions and about the best way to compensate teachers and other public employees at the end of a long career. Some facts are indisputable. First, and most obviously, the crisis we are facing is a huge one, and there is no easy way out. Pennsylvania is not the only state dealing with this problem, but the mountain it has to climb is as steep as any. It’s also true that most teachers do not receive full benefits from their retirement plans because they leave the profession early—that much is obvious—and it’s true that making benefits more “portable” makes a lot of sense.

But this is also where I part ways with others. They seem to believe that the solution to the problem is to convert all of our public pension plans into private retirement accounts, which is a perfectly conventional thing to think these days. The idea here is one we’re all familiar with: instead of offering a defined-benefit plan, these folks would have public employees converted to defined contribution plans. But here’s the catch: in a defined contribution plan, the contributions may be defined but the benefits are not. Contributions are invested, and the payout depends on how well those investments do. Yes, it’s true that these are mostly considered “safe” investments, investments in things like mutual funds or bonds. But they are investments nonetheless, and there is risk involved.

What kind of risk, you might ask? Well, ask anyone who served in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly back in the early 2000s. You might be surprised to know that many state pension funds are also invested: the state takes the contributions of future beneficiaries and its own contributions and invests them as well. The money doesn’t just sit around collecting dust. So if the market fails to perform someone has to make up the shortfall. The difference, of course, is that states are required by law to protect the investments employees have made. They’ve made a promise by defining the benefits employees will receive when they retire. The crime Pennsylvania committed was not increasing benefits; it was failing to feed the kitty when its investments were eviscerated by the market crash.

Of course in today’s uncertain economic climate that promise is really hard to keep. It’s even harder to keep because public opinion has increasingly coalesced around the idea that defined benefit plans cannot work. More than a few well-intentioned critics of government ineptitude seem to have bought it too. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t. It all sounds so compelling. If only we could find some examples of places where pension plans are actually working…

Oh, wait; here’s some evidence. If you follow the link you can see that some states and localities actually have very healthy pension funds. In fact, much of the bad press given to failing or overly generous pension plans in some states can be attributed to what one author calls “pension envy.” Some of it may link back to the great and suggestive name of Missouri’s plan (“LAGERS”), a name anyone could envy, but much of it probably stems from the fact that 401k-type plans are simply not working for most American workers. No surprise there, because they never were meant to. The 401k was conceived as a supplement for traditional pension plans, not a replacement for them.

This explains the pension envy: people look at the puny savings they have collected for retirement in their IRAs and read about how public employees are doing better than they are—and then, rather than ask “why is my retirement plan so bad?” they ask “why is theirs so good?”

In a rational world we would look at examples of things that actually work and try to build from there, instead of looking at the ones that don’t and using them as a starting point. But of course it makes sense to begin from failure if you’ve already decided what you want the solution to be. It also makes sense to do that if you have convinced yourself that all of our existing institutions and ways of doing things are inherently flawed and irreparably broken. I’m willing to match my contrarianism up against anyone’s on most days, but I’m not so much of a cynic that I can believe that everything we’ve ever created was created in bad faith. I’m also not so cynical that I can believe that nothing we have is worth saving. Chalk it up to blind, stupid, naive faith in the idea that people will do what’s good for others when they see that it’s good for them too. I know I benefit when everyone has a social safety net because providing one for them is more efficient and less expensive than trying to piece together a fix in the middle of a crisis.

In the end, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It seems to me that our growing cynicism toward public things, public employees, and government itself, is feeding a frenzy to dismantle a system that, with a little responsibility and an equal amount of commitment, could function very well indeed. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could strike a balance between bloated big government and good government that actually delivers on the promise of improving people’s lives instead of adding frustration to them? Maybe we can work on that before the next election rolls around.

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Dave Powell

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Dave Powell is Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department at Gettysburg College. A modified version of this article first appeared in the regular column he writes for Education Week as “The K-12 Contrarian.” Follow him on Twitter @profpow.

Facts about Presidents and Pensions

In honor of President’s Day this week the history buff in me decided to look up some facts relating to how Presidents have dealt with pensions and pension legislation over the years. I found out some unique facts, and, since I am still somewhat new to this industry I learned quite a bit. Here are just a few.

Pensions go back to colonial days when their original intent was to lure people to become involved in the military. As the country came together and prospered, pensions became a strong force, mostly controlled by the federal government.

By 1886-87, during Grover Cleveland’s presidency, pensions had grown too fast and too large, and President Cleveland began tightening the reigns in the hopes to preserve the system and make it stronger. Cleveland vetoed many bills throughout his terms in the White House, and over half of them involved some sort of pension reform. He wanted to preserve the legitimacy of the pension system by making sure that the programs were legitimate and appropriate for the people.

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Grover Cleveland Pension Quote

In 1912 the first Presidential pension legislation was brought forth to provide pensions for former presidents. It failed. Legislation was not approved until 1958, when President Eisenhower signed the Former Presidents Act to allow pensions for former presidents upon leaving office.

When Truman accepted his pension, Herbert Hoover was the only other living president. While Truman needed the pension, Hoover was a multi-millionaire who had never even taken the presidential salary. He took the pension however, so that he would not embarrass Truman.

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Truman and Presidential pensions

 

In 1974, President Nixon resigns in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The department of justice ruled that Nixon gets to keep his presidential pension since he was not removed from office, but resigned voluntarily. If he would have been removed from office involuntarily, he would have lost his presidential pension.

Some presidents, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have been fortunate enough to receive  pensions for many years, mostly because they were relatively young when they left the presidency and have lived many years after retiring.

Interesting stuff huh? I hope you enjoyed your President’s Day, and this little history lesson. For the past 50 years, LAGERS has been, and continues to be an active force to maintain the integrity and legacy of pensions and their effect on the economy and the lives of their recipients. And while our history doesn’t go back to the very beginning, we’ve been around long enough to celebrate our golden birthday and will be here for you for many, many more. For more information on LAGERS history, check out our website and watch our social media channels for updates throughout this very special year in our history.

 

 

 

Pre-Retirement Seminar Season is Here

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That’s right! The Pre-Retirement Seminar season is upon us! In years past, we have usually started our Pre-Retirement Seminar season near mid-March. However, this year we started the seminars a bit earlier because we added more seminars to the schedule. In fact, our first regional seminar is this week in Chesterfield.

Who should attend a seminar? I would recommend that if you are within 5-6 years of retirement you should attend. I know you might be thinking that it is too far from when you plan to retire, but there will be another one for you to attend once you get closer. So, I suggest that you attend a seminar when you are about five years out and attend another one once you are within a year of walking out the door.

Also, if you are a person who is responsible for your employer’s benefits (Human Resources, Payroll, etc.), you are welcome to attend a seminar as well! These seminars are a great source of information to help you answer some of your employees’ questions.

Why should I attend a seminar? Seminars are packed with great educational information that will help you better understand your LAGERS benefit and allow you to make informed decisions about your options at retirement. Our full-day seminars also include a presentation about Social Security and Medicare. When you leave a LAGERS seminar, you should feel like you have a better grasp on your retirement plan.

When and where are the seminars? We are having 33 seminars across the State of Missouri in 2017. Some are full-day seminars and others are in the afternoon or evening. Click the calendar image below to find a seminar in your area and register for one!

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This calendar is searchable. For example, if you would like to see what seminars are in the St. Louis area, type “St. Louis” into the search bar. It will compile all of the available seminars in that area.

These Pre-Retirement Seminars are the best available resource you have to get a better understanding of your LAGERS benefit.  However, if you are unable to attend a seminar, we have live webinars (also in the above calendar) every month that are a good resource as well. But, if you can attend a seminar before retirement, I strongly encourage you do so to ensure you make an educated decision and feel more comfortable about your retirement benefit.

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Jeff Pabst, CRC Senior Communications Specialist

Monthly Article Round-Up

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Every month, we read several articles regarding the retirement industry. These are just a few that I thought might interest our readers.

Many people are trying to go into retirement debt free. So, you may not think that concentrating on maintaining a high credit score is all that important. However, this article goes into some of the reasons why doing a little maintenance on your credit rating may not be a bad thing. Some apply to those who bring some debt into retirement. Yet, some other suggestions are for more practical reasons like purchasing a vehicle.

http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement
I found this next post to be very interesting. It talks about some of the issues that are going to be faced by companies in the near future when the baby boomers leave the workforce with all of their institutional knowledge. He has a conversation with a blue collar worker that knows the ins and outs of his business and has put quite a bit of effort in to the details of mastering his craft. The writer goes on saying that retirement planning can be much like the efforts of quality control and hard work put in by blue collar workers. It takes a dedication to quality control. Very interesting read…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2017/01/29/blue-collar-wisdom-about-retirement/#3c470c5172fd

The next article from this month is something that those who are currently retired and those who plan to retire in the coming years will be interested in. It talks about the top three things that most retirees forget once they reach retirement. The first is taxes. I’m sure the thought is, “I’m retired, I don’t need to worry about taxes.” Wrong. Taxation is still a part of being retired; you just may not pay as much in taxes. Another mention in this article is about keeping good medical records when you are retired. This again plays in to your taxes because you may be able to use a medical expense deduction depending on the amount of money you spend on medical expenses. Check out the article for more details!

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/01/30/3-biggest-tax-mistakes-retirees-make.html

Finally, I found this article to be a good fun way to finish out the article round up. The retirement planning that you always hear about is the financial aspects. However, you should also be thinking about what you are going to do once you leave the workforce. I know you may be saying that you have a huge “to-do” list that will take you forever to complete. However, when you have a significantly larger amount of time to complete the list, it will get done much quicker than you expect. This article gives you several ideas of how to spend your time once you have left the workforce and complete that “to-do” list.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2016-05-11/21-fulfilling-ways-to-pass-time-in-retirement

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Jeff Pabst, CRC Senior Communications Specialist

 

Quarterly Update

Starting in January of this year, we decided that we would like have a quarterly update from LAGERS Executive Secretary and Chief Investment Officer. So, a few days ago, I sat down with Keith and Brian to get a quick update from the last quarter.

Quarterly Update: 4th Quarter 2016 from Missouri LAGERS on Vimeo.

Keith had a few interesting topics that he brought to our attention. One that I found to be particularly interesting was the addition of 12 new LAGERS employers. That in itself is par for the course because LAGERS adds 10 – 15 new employers every year. The part that I found to be interesting was that of those 12 employers, 7 switched from a 401(k) type defined contribution account. That is close to 60% of the new employers changed from a defined contribution plan because it wasn’t providing them with the retirement security they desired.

Additionally, Keith mentioned the fact that a record number of LAGERS members, 232, retired on January 1st of this year. Join us in congratulating these new retirees!

Then, Brian gave us a quick update about the performance of the LAGERS investment portfolio. One part that I found to be quite reassuring was the fact that our 20 year investment return number is currently 7.9%. This is encouraging because LAGERS long-term goal is to reach 7.25%. By meeting this goal it ensures financial stability of the system and potentially stable contributions for our employers.

Brian also spoke about the efforts of the investment team to expand our private equity investments in Europe and in the United States. Private equity, he explained, is a long-term investment and makes a lot of sense for LAGERS since we are long-term investors.

Finally, Keith finished up with some of the actions our Board of Trustees took in the last quarter. One of those actions was to complete a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis to ensure our system is planning for the present and future. Finally, LAGERS adopted a new vision statement that states “a secure retirement for all.” This is something that LAGERS firmly believes in and works every day to ensure our membership has a secure retirement plan.

Keep an eye out for another update next quarter!

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Jeff Pabst, CRC Senior Communications Specialist

50 Years of Retirement Security and Counting…

50th-2-no-textMissouri LAGERS is preparing to celebrate 50 years of providing retirement security to Missouri’s local government workers!

LAGERS was created by the 74th general assembly in 1967 and officially opened its doors the following year. During its first year of existence, the young system was administered through a contractual agreement with the Missouri Municipal League and added its first full time staff member in 1969.

By June 1969, 70 Missouri local government entities had joined LAGERS with a total of 4,600 member employees and $2.1 million in assets. Today, LAGERS is the largest pension system for local government employees in the state of Missouri, covering over 680 employers, 33,000 active members, and 19,000 retirees, with over $6 billion in assets and an overall aggregate funding level in excess of the national average.

Missouri LAGERS believes that a secure retirement should be for everyone who works hard, and that retirement security is the foundation for building strong communities across the state. LAGERS is an integral part of providing local communities with the tools they need to attract and retain the high quality workers necessary to making communities a great place to live, work, and retire. LAGERS has helped thousands of local government workers retire with dignity and security over the past 50 years and looks forward to carrying our mission into the next 50 years and beyond!

LAGERS is planning to celebrate its 50th birthday in several ways:

New Vision Statement

LAGERS Board of Trustees recently adopted a new vision statement: “A Secure Retirement for All.” Our vision is the very essence of why LAGERS staff gets up and goes to work each and every day. We strive in everything we do to ensure that our members can someday retire with dignity and security.

 

New Responsive Website

Coming in July 2017, LAGERS will be rolling out an all-new responsive website. The new website will feature enhanced user navigation; new, interactive content, and even more great ways to connect with your LAGERS system. LAGERS remains committed to ensuring that you have the best access to information you need about your benefits!

 

A History of LAGERS

Stay tuned on our social media channels throughout the year as we look back at a complete 50 year history of the LAGERS system. Beginning as a dream in 1967, LAGERS has grown into a nationally acclaimed pension system, setting the gold standard for pension administration across the county.

 

LAGERS Annual Meeting

Don’t forget to join us at our annual meeting as we return to the site of our very first LAGERS Annual Meeting at Lake of the Ozarks.

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A LAGERS Success Story

We are so thankful that we get to touch the lives of our members in a positive way. That is how we live up to our vision of “A Secure Retirement for All.”

Please take a moment to read this letter we received from the son of one of our members who recently passed away. Louis Finke was an employee for the Clay County Health Department and died at over 100 years of age this past spring. He was able to live into retirement over 30 years. We are grateful for his service to his community and proud that we were able to help provide him with a secure retirement after his service ended.

Mr. Finke’s son Ronald wrote to LAGERS to tell his father’s story. “On behalf of our family, I wanted to thank you for your organization’s service to my father and mother. This pension income was very important and helped him to afford home health care for him and our mother for 15 years. He was also able to live in his own home with only part time care until just after reaching age 100.”

This is what being a LAGERS member is about, and why we do what we do every day.

Read the letter here.

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