Monthly Archives: January 2017

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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The Old Debate is Back Again

Retirement written on an envelope with dollars. Savings concept.Those on both sides are arguing the merits and the downfalls of the 401(k). The Wall Street Journal’s article earlier this week, then a couple of responses to it from Bloomberg and Forbes have shown that the argument of whether or not a 401(k) type investment can be the sure path to retirement security has people on both sides trying to convince you, dear reader, which way to go when planning your future. Yep, the old debate is back again. .

LAGERS View

Our position is simple, and accurate. We agree with the Wall Street Journal’s article (which comes straight from the source of those who designed the 401(k) system in the first place) that 401(k)’s were never meant to take over as a viable retirement security mechanism for the average worker, but rather, to supplement a traditional pension.

What’s the Real Goal?

“What’s being lost in the rhetoric is the point of what we’re ALL trying to accomplish – or what we should be focusing on:  better products and services for customers. We want people to focus on working hard and doing their jobs, and when they’ve fulfilled that part of the deal, allow them a mechanism to retire with some dignity and security. A pension provides that. That is the point of a retirement plan,” Says Bob Wilson, LAGERS Assistant Director, Member Services. “The point of a 401(k) is wealth accumulation, which can be a good tool to help supplement a pension plan.”

Wilson says the old “three legged stool” approach still applies.  “Defined benefit pensions were never designed to be the stand alone solution.  Neither were 403 leg stool.png1(k) type investment plans or Social Security.  They were designed to work together, providing diversity and balance.  There is no shortcut or magic pill in retirement planning.  You have to be diligent, work and plan.  Well-designed pensions are a great stable base to add a wealth accumulator like a 401(k), but alone a 401(k) is too volatile to serve as a stand-alone retirement plan.  Having that stable base allows you to withstand the volatility of your 401(k) due to market swings without getting short-sighted, panicking and/or giving up.”

Security – What Matters

The shift of companies away from pensions in favor of 401(k)’s as the main form of retirement security reflects a lack of commitment of the employer to the workers and the communities. The fact that the creators of the 401(k) system have regrets about the path they started for the American worker in the early 80’s shows that they can be unreliable on their own.

We at LAGERS want our members to worry about serving their communities that they work in, not their retirement security. We want good employees to plant roots within their communities and stay.  A pension offered by an employer helps employees to feel a little more secure about their futures. “The driver of these plans is to make the communities better and give some security to those who serve. We all want to retire with dignity,” says Wilson.

The Solution to Retirement Security

So what’s the solution? A combined approach. A commitment to work. A commitment to save. A commitment to employers and our communities.  A long term mentality. The promise of a dignified exit from the workforce. That’s what’s going to create retirement security for all of us.

Growth in 2016 – 12 New Employers Added!

2016-new-employersThe team at LAGERS is proud to announce that in 2016 we added 12 new employers! This reflects our incredible growth over the past few years, as well as our constant commitment to our organization’s vision, which is embodied in the phrase “A Secure Retirement for All.”

We strive to live out this vision statement every day when we come to work and will continue our efforts to bring retirement security to existing and new employers and members in 2017. We have a lot of exciting new ways we plan to accomplish this in the future, so keep watching our blog and following us on social media to keep up with us in the New Year.

We wanted to give you a few examples as to why these new employers decided that LAGERS was the right choice for them.  It comes down to our commitment to help our employers recruit and retain top talent while giving them the opportunity to exit the workforce with dignity when that time comes.

“We wanted a better retirement plan for our employees; one that offered more financial security for them. Providing a great retirement plan like LAGERS should improve the district’s employee recruitment and retention goals, and possibly provide some added financial comfort.” Bill Florea, Director of Operations, Nodaway County Ambulance District.

“Our board wanted to provide a better retirement for all our employees. LAGERS will be a great addition for the benefit package of our current and new employees in the future.” Vickie Mitschele, Office Manager, Laclede County PWSD #3.

“We had recently conducted a study to audit our current retirement system, and found that a defined benefit plan would have a greater return on investment than the defined contribution plan that we had. That makes LAGERS a better retirement solution for us, and will give our employees a better outlook on their retirement future. We’re looking forward to the switch!” Greg Vogel , Fire Chief, West Overland EMS & Fire Protection District.

We’re thankful to them that they are joining our family, and we can’t wait to make great things happen for their employees, our new members. Here’s to a great start to 2017 for all of us!

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