The number of Americans covered under a traditional pension plan, like LAGERS, has been steadily declining since the mid-1970s. While 75% of state and local government workers still participate in such plans, only 50% of workers in the private sector have access to any type of retirement plan.
You should be proud of your LAGERS benefits. LAGERS pension benefits are good for you, your employer, and your community. You know this. But there are still many common misconceptions about pensions that are frequently heard in the media and from friends and family. So how do you articulate the value of your pension to someone that doesn’t understand? Read on for some quick tips!
Common Misconception: Pensions are all going broke.
Response: My LAGERS system is one of the strongest in the country, at 94.4% funded. The LAGERS system is strong and getting stronger as about 15 new local government agencies join each year.
Common Misconception: Pensions cost too much.
Response: Well managed pensions, like my LAGERS system, typically are not a financial burden for state and local governments as they account for only about 3.9% of total spending.
Common Misconception: Pensions are too generous.
Response: The benefits earned by local government workers in Missouri are moderate and sustainable. The average monthly benefit for a LAGERS retiree is around $900. It provides a nice base, but certainly cannot be the only source of retirement income.
Common Misconception: As a taxpayer, I’m paying for pensions that are much better than what I get from my employer. Government workers should have the same benefits as I do.
Response: I believe that everyone who works hard should have a retirement benefit that provides a little security and peace of mind, whether they work in the private or public sector. Many government workers are required to help pay for their retirement benefits and the investment return of my LAGERS system will pay for about 65% of my benefit. So, the taxpayer is not picking up the entire tab.
Common Misconception: Pensions are good for the people who receive them, but the government employers and taxpayers don’t see any benefit from these plans.
Response: I want the best people serving my community. Pensions help attract and retain quality workers. These are the police officers, fire fighters, teachers, emergency medical technicians, and city planners. Pensions provide incentive for high quality workers to stay in these government positions during their most productive years. Then, they allow them to retire at an appropriate age so younger, talented workers can fill those open positions. And, 94% of local government retirees stay in the communities they served, spending their pension checks on goods and services in their hometown. These pensions are a great economic stabilizer for Missouri!
Don’t be ashamed to speak positively about the benefit that you have earned through years of public service. Friends and neighbors should understand that building strong communities is vital to the economic growth and overall well-being of Missouri. Pensions help attract and retain high quality workers and provide a nice economic boost to local municipalities.