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Old 10-20-2010, 10:12 AM   #61
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From the article Dex posted:

“The "traditional" pension is a defined-benefit plan, which comes with the guarantee of a lifetime monthly check, somewhat irrespective of the funding that underlies the promise. Another option for retirement savings is a defined-contribution plan, such as a 401(k). Here, employers and employees make contributions toward the worker's retirement, but there is no guarantee of a defined, predictable monthly annuity check. Building a nest egg for old age is primarily the responsibility of the employee, and therein lies the crucial difference.”

The convention wisdom was a defined benefit plan placed more risk on the employer. IMHO, a defined contribution plan, like a 401(k), may end up being less risky in the long run. Politics and budget constraints have put some defined benefit plans in jeopardy. Not to mention the impact of the economy, poor management, and states raiding pension plans to make up for budget shortfalls. Those will well funded defined contribution plans may come out ahead as they have more control over where and how their funds are invested and don’t have to worry about the state legislature tapping their retirement savings to fund spending and tax cuts.

My retirement funds are from defined contribution plans and DH has the traditional defined benefit plan. Which one of us has a better deal? I have control over my funds and decide where to invest and will be able to control how much I withdraw. DH's plan is fixed and he worries everytime he picks up the paper and sees another story about how the plan is underfunded. Only time will tell.....
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:15 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
My retirement funds are from defined contribution plans and DH has the traditional defined benefit plan. Which one of us has a better deal? I have control over my funds and decide where to invest and will be able to control how much I withdraw. DH's plan is fixed and he worries everytime he picks up the paper and sees another story about how the plan is underfunded. Only time will tell.....
Frankly, I think one spouse on a DB pension and the other on a defined contribution plan is the best of both worlds. You have the potential growth of personal investments combined with a base level of income security with the pension.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:43 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
This seem to get your blood pressure up for some reason....
Darn right it gets my BP up! The people in these stories get unusually high benefits, yet they are presented as if they are the general run of public employees. I don't think it's true and I'm sick of having it thrown in my face again and again as if I committed some sort of crime by taking a government job. I was out of work and the City was hiring. I was sick of short term jobs in the private sector and saw a chance for employment with more stability. The fact that the benefits are generous was basically just good luck on my part. I wasn't even thinking about that when I applied.

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Dex had a link to an article that talked about this guy... now I can not get it unless I sign up for NY something or other.... but the article said the guy has a $101,000 something pension and his final years salary was $87,000... except that he spiked it so he could get a good pension... if you don't believe me, sign up and read the article... or, just ignore what I post... Do you think I am pulling this stuff out my ass (snip)

The pensions for most civil servents in Texas are not way out of line... they are better than some that are putting down 1% in your poll as they are 2.2%... but there is no COLA and the people contribute to their pensions...
No, I think the papers who publish these stories are looking for the most egregious examples they can find, and you are uncritically taking what they say as if it's typical of the broad cross section of public employees, when, by your own words just above, it's not even true of the public employees where you live. You use outlying examples to paint public employees on the whole as greedy and overcompensated, and you seem to think the problems with pension underfunding are entirely due to excessive benefits to which employees have not contributed—even though this also is untrue of the public employees' retirement system where you live. You allow nothing for the effect of the recent stock market downturn and ignore the disagreeable habit some governments have of cutting contribution to the pension fund when market returns were good or when they get short of cash. You think maybe those two factors have contributed to the problem of underfunded pensions? Me too. But you point the finger at one cop in one city getting a big pension, as if this were the whole story.

I think the polls I've started will show that six-figure/>100% pensions like that police officer's are the exception rather than the rule, that most public employees—like me and like the ones in Texas—have contributed significantly to their pension funds out of their paychecks while employed (I'm not complaining about that, I think it's the right way to run a pension system), that spiking and other abuses are usually not allowed, that partial or no COLA—again like your Texas system and like the City of Seattle—is more typical than full CPI-adjusted benefits, and that at least as many public retirees pay their own health insurance premiums as have paid health care included as a benefit.

In short, I think it will turn out that the whole line of argument behind these threads griping about excessive public employee pensions is a bunch of malarkey. Yours just happened to be the last straw.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #64
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Darn right it gets my BP up! The people in these stories get unusually high benefits, yet they are presented as if they are the general run of public employees. I don't think it's true and I'm sick of having it thrown in my face again and again as if I committed some sort of crime by taking a government job. I was out of work and the City was hiring. I was sick of short term jobs in the private sector and saw a chance for employment with more stability. The fact that the benefits are generous was basically just good luck on my part. I wasn't even thinking about that when I applied.
Please see my post in another thread.

Imagine your department had your pension frozen while another department had theirs protected. Imagine your new "lifeline" -- your defined contribution plan -- losing half its value and threatening your ability to EVER retire while you were also told you'll have to pay higher taxes to protect another department's pension plan and retiree health insurance.

Think you'd be a little angry or resentful? Now I'd agree that anger toward the employees is misplaced and unfortunate. But I think people who had the rug pulled out from them have good reason to feel a little "second class" when they are asked to get screwed a second time so some folks don't have to get screwed once.

Having said all that, I'm all for a constructive solution that brings the private sector worker *up* rather than encourage a race to the bottom which brings the retirement deal for public employees *down*; I don't want to see *anyone* get screwed. But first, IMO, we have to not only have to try to empathize with the other side's point of view, but also place the energy where it belongs -- and it's not in bashing public employees.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:03 AM   #65
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In short, I think it will turn out that the whole line of argument behind these threads griping about excessive public employee pensions is a bunch of malarkey. Yours just happened to be the last straw.
Not so much malarkey as bad journalism.

The aggregate of State and Municipal pension funds are underfunded by a substantial amount. This has been obvious for quite some time for those that looked, but for the passive media recipient awareness is recent and mostly the result of new accounting standards.

The journalist presents an example (or two) of salary to pension spiking, then alludes to this being widespread, then alleges this as the cause of pension funding shortfalls. Public media grabs it and it spreads like wildfire, facts notwithstanding.

We are going to see more of this, not less. I strongly (and cynically) suspect this media campaign is subtly influenced by our political leadership, as it successfully points the blame away from them and towards easier targets – like unions. The most unfortunate result of this is it makes it so much more difficult to build the public / private / political consensus needed to resolve.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:10 AM   #66
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We are going to see more of this, not less. I strongly (and cynically) suspect this media campaign is subtly influenced by our political leadership, as it successfully points the blame away from them and towards easier targets – like unions. The most unfortunate result of this is it makes it so much more difficult to build the public / private / political consensus needed to resolve.
Frankly, I think corporate interests and influence are leading this campaign (and many others) to divide and conquer, turning ordinary people against each other so neither can see the shared common threat. And if we can't see that threat, we can't put our differences aside to defeat it or keep it in check.

I see the real battle of our time being "populism versus corporatism" or "interests of the people versus interests of Big Business," not "Democrats versus Republicans," "liberals versus conservatives" or "left versus right." But we're fed so much rhetoric about these latter battles on the (corporate) media that we can't see the forest through the trees.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:16 AM   #67
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It has been a change of events to a large degree. I remember in the 90's when the private secor folks didn't give a darn about the pension folks, because their 401ks were going up 25% a year like clockwork.

Throw in 9/11, and a choppy market for 10 years, and now everyone wants to rewind time and get a pension...........
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:27 AM   #68
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Yet another quote from "Covet thy neighbor's -- pension? Public vs. private":
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For example, better than 60 percent of part-time local and state workers received pension benefits, according to a 2001 report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That's a perk received by few part-timers in the private sector.
Benefits to part timers can make a huge difference when the benefit is defined using base pay. If a husband and wife both work half-time, for long enough, and each retires with 50% of pre-retirement base pay, together they get 100% of their pre-retirement household income.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:27 AM   #69
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It has been a change of events to a large degree. I remember in the 90's when the private secor folks didn't give a darn about the pension folks, because their 401ks were going up 25% a year like clockwork.

Throw in 9/11, and a choppy market for 10 years, and now everyone wants to rewind time and get a pension...........
Not to sound like a broken record, but again this is where I think FERS got it right. You have both the growth potential within TSP plus a certain level of security with the pension component. When the market is soaring, you're participating in some of it. When the market is tanking, you still have a "floor" under you with the modest pension and SS.

I see no reason why it needs to be (or should be) either/or.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:48 AM   #70
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Darn right it gets my BP up! The people in these stories get unusually high benefits, yet they are presented as if they are the general run of public employees. I don't think it's true and I'm sick of having it thrown in my face again and again as if I committed some sort of crime by taking a government job. I was out of work and the City was hiring. I was sick of short term jobs in the private sector and saw a chance for employment with more stability. The fact that the benefits are generous was basically just good luck on my part. I wasn't even thinking about that when I applied.


No, I think the papers who publish these stories are looking for the most egregious examples they can find, and you are uncritically taking what they say as if it's typical of the broad cross section of public employees, when, by your own words just above, it's not even true of the public employees where you live. You use outlying examples to paint public employees on the whole as greedy and overcompensated, and you seem to think the problems with pension underfunding are entirely due to excessive benefits to which employees have not contributed—even though this also is untrue of the public employees' retirement system where you live. You allow nothing for the effect of the recent stock market downturn and ignore the disagreeable habit some governments have of cutting contribution to the pension fund when market returns were good or when they get short of cash. You think maybe those two factors have contributed to the problem of underfunded pensions? Me too. But you point the finger at one cop in one city getting a big pension, as if this were the whole story.

I think the polls I've started will show that six-figure/>100% pensions like that police officer's are the exception rather than the rule, that most public employees—like me and like the ones in Texas—have contributed significantly to their pension funds out of their paychecks while employed (I'm not complaining about that, I think it's the right way to run a pension system), that spiking and other abuses are usually not allowed, that partial or no COLA—again like your Texas system and like the City of Seattle—is more typical than full CPI-adjusted benefits, and that at least as many public retirees pay their own health insurance premiums as have paid health care included as a benefit.

In short, I think it will turn out that the whole line of argument behind these threads griping about excessive public employee pensions is a bunch of malarkey. Yours just happened to be the last straw.

First... I NEVER said that the cop was typical... and I did NOT say that because of him all pensions should be eliminated... YOU are reading this into my posts or are using other people complaints and putting them on me...


The Texas system (from what I know) actually increase their payout when the market was going good... even though it was not required... so in this example, you get more than you were promissed...


What I want is to not have a POTENTIAL timebomb on the public taxpayers... it has blown up in a few states already, but it also looks like it will blow up in other states as well. Sure, the market over the last few years has taken their toll, but guess what.... it has come back a good way also... but the funding of many are still way below where they should be...

If we went to a DC plan, there is no potential timebomb... there is not underfunding... there is no spiking...

Also, for some reason you think that I am trying to cut off your check... I am not. I am talking about changing things going forward... there IS a problem and I think we should get it fixed instead of the heated arguments of 'I deserve this since I did that' or whatever else is being thrown at us...


As someone pointed out, it is a heated issue... look at France who wants to move the age from 60 to 62... riots in the street...
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:34 PM   #71
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I get tired of these conversations about pensions that always repeat the same things and try to justify some scheme of what's fair. And I have been resisting making my usual comment of "who gives a rat's butt what you think is fair?" Because it is all about hiring qualified people to do the job. This new guy made it for me, and I just want to point it out because this is what it comes down to: My pension didn't start out to be such a great deal, but it became one because I became nearly irreplaceable. Rather, it's more accurate to say I became irreplaceable at a reasonable price. Remember back then? When the private sector was hiring people left and right and public sector employers like mine were offering huge hiring bonuses because they were desperate to get qualified applicants? They did something similar when they sweetened my pension but made the deal contingent on me staying just a few more years. To their minds it was just a retention bonus/incentive.

Funny thing - back then all the screaming was, "find the money put more cops on the street and keep the ones we already have." Wait five-ten years and it will be that way again.
Well you are tired. Poor man. Maybe we should all just shut up, and just pay up through the nose and ignore all the:

1)secrecy
2)nearly criminal accounting to your benefits to hide what was given away
3)the immorality of funding fat pensions over schools and other public needs
4)the collusion with liberal politicians
5)the loose rules and lack of oversight on pension spiking
6)saving years of unused "sick leave" then cashing it in the last year to spike pensions

I am tired of that
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:15 PM   #72
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Frankly, I think corporate interests and influence are leading this campaign (and many others) to divide and conquer, turning ordinary people against each other so neither can see the shared common threat. And if we can't see that threat, we can't put our differences aside to defeat it or keep it in check.
+1

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:20 PM   #73
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Public Employee Pensions on Long Island - 2010

Here is some recent Nassau and Suffolk folks that retired from the PD and a few other public pensions. Is this a joke or what? Look to the right of the lists, these #'s are actually what these folks are getting, not including full medical, add another 20K a year for that.

http://newsdayinteractive.com/templa...9_trs_pensions

Now take a look at what the teachers and administrators of the schools are getting.

This should make most of us ill.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:29 PM   #74
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59332 Grimaldi, John V Village Of Bellerose 1986-10-01 $7.80Does this guy get health benefits?
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:35 PM   #75
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This should make most of us ill.
Maybe I will become ill once I understand your point. I looked at the references, and I see that teachers get higher retirement than custodians. So?
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:36 PM   #76
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:55 PM   #77
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:59 PM   #78
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Public Employee Pensions on Long Island - 2010

Here is some recent Nassau and Suffolk folks that retired from the PD and a few other public pensions. Is this a joke or what? Look to the right of the lists, these #'s are actually what these folks are getting, not including full medical, add another 20K a year for that.

Teacher and Administrator Pensions on Long Island - 2009

Now take a look at what the teachers and administrators of the schools are getting.

This should make most of us ill.

Thanks , I know now what my sister's pension is . I actually thought it was higher !
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:00 PM   #79
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:03 PM   #80
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Frankly, I think corporate interests and influence are leading this campaign (and many others) to divide and conquer, turning ordinary people against each other so neither can see the shared common threat. And if we can't see that threat, we can't put our differences aside to defeat it or keep it in check.
You're on to something there.

Quote:
GOP Gov. Rick Perry on Friday accused Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White of taking pension money away from a police union when White was mayor of Houston, leaving the union with debt.

"That's what Texans expect from a liberal, personal-injury trial lawyer, which is what he is," Perry said.

Katy Bacon, a spokeswoman for the White campaign, said the accusation is false. White reformed Houston's pension system, she said.

"You can see just how desperate Rick Perry is to avoid the end of his 25-year political career," Bacon said.
In spite of seeing my pension plan being batted around in bigger political contests than is usual, I am not too worried about it. Especially when I see that it's worked it's way back to something like 80-85% funded. Now, if we can just win the lawsuit against State Street and get back all that damn subprime mortgage money.

As for me, I'm going to put this thread on ignore. My pension is secure and retirement is too damn short to get bogged down in this. One of the two people on my ignore list is hitting hard in here, and a couple are contending to be new entries. Better to just ignore the whole thread.
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