Battered pension fund looks at changes

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 30, 2012 - 9:08 PM

Early retirements in police and fire are pushing the state's largest retirement fund toward new plan.

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dmcnevinNov. 30, 12 9:15 PM

Really? Retiring at 50? No working class people in the private sector get that nice little perk unless their spouse rakes it in or they have a ridiculously high paying job. Time to change this for sure.

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ToddDuluthNov. 30, 1210:09 PM

PERA is even more underfunded than appears as their actuarial calculations determining funding level are not realistic, I think a 7.5%+ internal long-term rate of return? You apply a sensitivity analysis to the calculations of, say, 5% and they shortfall is much greater. Talk about putting your collective heads in the sand.

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margeanncullenNov. 30, 1210:11 PM

I agree 50 years old is too young now but you seem to miss the fact they have paid in for years. Not to mention they put their lives at risk. A police officer was just killed yesterday McNevin.I wouldn't do either job would you? The police also have a very high burnout level.

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thecynic5712Nov. 30, 1210:21 PM

This thing is far more seriously underfunded than the article shows because the assumed rate of return is far higher than it is possible to earn today. And yes, 50 is quite young to retire on a full pension, especially when many if not most of those retirees go right out and get another job, so they not only take a full pension but they also displace another worker for the next 10 to 20 years. You have to be realistic about these things, and this is not sustainable. Those that want to retire at a younger age should take a smaller pension or pay more in.

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DufferHNov. 30, 1210:21 PM

margeanncullen: Compared to other union jobs, these people at age 50 have NOT paid into their retirement for years -- 26 years at most. Many of us had to wait many years longer to collect our pensions. We realize they have dangerous jobs, but that hasn't changed since these people applied for these highly competitive jobs originally.

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rascal1234Nov. 30, 1210:43 PM

Margeanncullen: I agree the cops and firefighters have a tough job. However, retiring at 50 with 90% of their salary for life is just not right. They don't need to climb into a shell when they retire. What would be wrong with getting another job, like those in the private sector have to do?

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jbpaperNov. 30, 1210:49 PM

Instead of having them retire so early, reassign them. We keep hearing about the lack of fire inspection being done. Have the ones that are too old to continue fighting fires become inspectors. I had to stop by my local police precinct a while back. The lady working the desk was probably in her late 20s, maybe early 30s. Put her out on the street and have someone in their 50s working the desk.

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sheflandNov. 30, 1210:53 PM

good grief, here we go again, they DO NOT get a full pension at 50! age 55 is when you can start collecting and then it is only a full pension if you have worked a certain number of years. Where were all you people when these job were available? Few want them in good times, but sure do want them when times are tough. In the late 60's they could hardly field a group to take the ff test! The city of mpls beat our pension up and now the state is after us.

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rshacklefordNov. 30, 1210:57 PM

"It wouldn't be enough, the task force concluded, to simply ask police, firefighters and local governments to pay more into the pension fund." ---- Understood. So, let's add this: Start immediately firing those who boot people in the head while on the ground or, worse, punch a defenseless citizen at an outdoor restaurant patio (then run away). Doing so would not only save a TON of money but make the public believe that Protect and Serve is an honest statement.

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genericloginNov. 30, 1211:20 PM

ANY government employee that started before the late 80's has something called "rule of 90". When years of service + age = 90 they can retire with full pension. As a current government employee I can tell you that is a large number of people in the near future. PERA scares me but we are required by law to contribute about 6% of our income into it. There is employer match too, unless you try to take your money out of PERA after terminating employment. They (PERA) keeps all employer contributions if you do. What a scam! For someone a long ways from retirement like me, it does not feel like a safe investment at all.

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