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View Poll Results: What is the maximum benefit per year of service?
More than 4% per year of service 1 6.25%
More than 3% per year of service 0 0%
More than 2% per year of service 4 25.00%
More than 1% per year of service 8 50.00%
1% or less per year of service 1 6.25%
My pension system does not calculate benefits based on years of service 2 12.50%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Maximum percentage per year of service
Old 10-20-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
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Maximum percentage per year of service

Continuing on from my previous poll, (which I accidentally put in the wrong forum) what is the maximum percentage per year of service paid by your public pension system. Please, only vote in the poll if you are currently working, or have worked in the past, for local, state, or federal government, including military.

A SCERS pension can be up to 2% per year of service, for employees with 30 years or over age 65 at retirement. Various combinations of age & years of service can also receive 2% per year. For example, I plan to retire at age 57, by which time I'll have 28 years of service, but I'll be eligible for 2% per year any time after I turn 55, because of the number of years I've worked for the City.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:56 AM   #2
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To get a full picture, you might also ask two additional questions: 1) how much do you pay towards your pension and retiree health care, as a percentage of salary; and 2) are you in the social security system?
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:51 AM   #3
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is the assumption that those in the private sector no longer have a pension as well? or are you only trying to get a picture of public sector jobs.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:12 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
To get a full picture, you might also ask two additional questions: 1) how much do you pay towards your pension and retiree health care, as a percentage of salary; and 2) are you in the social security system?
And a 3rd & 4th question:

3) At what age are you eligible at this % (or adjust for age 55 or something)?

I can't vote in this poll, but my private pension is cut in half if I take it at 55 YO rather than 65. So your example of being eligible would not be comparable to someone who gives the %, but cannot take it until 65 at that %. So my % at 55 would be roughly 0.7% per year of service.

4) Cola, NO-COLA, or DIET-COLA? Mine is NON-COLA, so it's value is roughly half of a full COLA pension, so maybe 0.35% per year of service.

And possibly a 5th:

How was your "Final Earnings" calculated? Was there any 'spiking', was accumulated vacation or other time included? No and no in my case (again a private pension), but these Q's would apply to comparing public pensions - I assume these could all vary municipality to municipality.

Aren't polls fun?

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
To get a full picture, you might also ask two additional questions: 1) how much do you pay towards your pension and retiree health care, as a percentage of salary; and 2) are you in the social security system?
And a 3rd & 4th question:

3) At what age are you eligible at this % (or adjust for age 55 or something)?

I can't vote in this poll, but my private pension is cut in half if I take it at 55 YO rather than 65. So your example of being eligible would not be comparable to someone who gives the %, but cannot take it until 65 at that %. So my % at 55 would be roughly 0.7% per year of service.

4) Cola, NO-COLA, or DIET-COLA? Mine is NON-COLA, so it's value is roughly half of a full COLA pension, so maybe 0.35% per year of service.

And possibly a 5th:

How was your "Final Earnings" calculated? Was there any 'spiking', was accumulated vacation or other time included? No and no in my case (again a private pension), but these Q's would apply to comparing public pensions - I assume these could all vary municipality to municipality.

Aren't polls fun?

-ERD50
Yes, you are both right, and those questions are coming as soon as I can manage to an E-R poll near you! But some of us public employees do still have to show up at work to fund our bloated salaries and excessive benefits! I just ran out of time. In fact I stayed up later than I should have just to start the polls that are already going.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:40 AM   #6
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is the assumption that those in the private sector no longer have a pension as well? or are you only trying to get a picture of public sector jobs.
The latter.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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Many posts would imply "special benefits" of government pensions (which pretty much do not exist for federal pensions any more, AFAIK). But they completely ignore one HUGE benefit of federal retirement that is real.

If these members would take federal employment for just five years, from age 57-62, they would have the health insurance benefits in retirement and a FERS mini-pension too. This is the ONE big benefit of federal retirement that I can see and AFAIK it is being totally ignored by those on this board. I think a low level federal job could be a great ESR job for some.

There are thousands and thousands of unfilled federal positions available at USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site . Give yourself a break! Take advantage of this eccentricity in federal retirement rules while it still exists.

Like many/most federal employees you may have to relocate and take a job that is boring and does not utilize your skills or pay what you are used to getting, but you will get the health insurance and benefits. For more information check http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/fers/e....asp#Immediate

(edited to add: Sorry if this sounds like a Public Service Announcement! )
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:05 AM   #8
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Many posts would imply "special benefits" of government pensions (which pretty much do not exist for federal pensions any more, AFAIK). But they completely ignore one HUGE benefit of federal retirement that is real.

If these members would take federal employment for just five years, from age 57-62, they would have the health insurance benefits in retirement and a FERS mini-pension too. This is the ONE big benefit of federal pensions that I can see and AFAIK it is being totally ignored by those on this board.
Heh. I think I've referred to "retiree health insurance" a few times in these discussions, so it's not *totally* ignored.

Having said that, the main reason there isn't a "federal pension crisis" (other than the ability to deficit spend and print money) is because the Feds went from CSRS to FERS in the 1980s. If more pension plans followed the FERS model -- a *true* three-legged stool with pension, personal savings and SS -- there would be a lot fewer "budget crises" with retirement benefits blowing the big hole in the budget. I've upheld FERS as a "model" retirement system for quite some time.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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Heh. I think I've referred to "retiree health insurance" a few times in these discussions, so it's not *totally* ignored.

Having said that, the main reason there isn't a "federal pension crisis" (other than the ability to deficit spend and print money) is because the Feds went from CSRS to FERS in the 1980s. If more pension plans followed the FERS model -- a *true* three-legged stool with pension, personal savings and SS -- there would be a lot fewer "budget crises" with retirement benefits blowing the big hole in the budget. I've upheld FERS as a "model" retirement system for quite some time.
If your retiree health insurance situation doesn't pan out, it seems to me that taking a low level federal job from 57-62 might be a great ESR job for you, Ziggy. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. At least, that is pretty much what I did although I managed to get a career job and did it for 10 years.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:54 PM   #10
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... But some of us public employees do still have to show up at work to fund our bloated salaries and excessive benefits...
kyounge1956 - I'm really having trouble understanding why you are injecting those comments into the thread. It really doesn't help the discussion, and I think the perception is far, far off.

The first post in the thread you referenced at the start of this thread said "I'm fed up it with the bashing of public employees ... —this thread is a recent example.". So I looked at that thread, and here is a broad smattering of comments from the posters without public pensions:

Quote:
Don't blame the government workers so much; elected officials gave them all they got.

This is nothing negative about what you have done. As I said, elected officials approved it.

Even in the example that I posted above, the police officer was working within the rules and the blame lies with those that made the rules.

It was your choice, and you took less risk, a lot of people do that......

Well, I don't blame you at all.

I just don't think bashing the pensioners is useful or even properly aimed.

I'm not begrudging those retirees who earned their pensions; but I think the rules need to change for new hires.

I am not mad at him... I am mad at the systems that allow this to happen..
Maybe because you've heard a lot of "bashing" in the past, you are maybe hyper-sensitive and read "bashing" into every comment on the subject? I dunno, but I honestly don't see it.

And yes, I'm having trouble reconciling that "playing by the rules" is OK for you, but you found it offensive when others did it (the thread you put on 'ignore').

I think it's great to take some polls to try to get some sense of what is typical for people on this forum, but I'd suggest saving the "Mom always liked you best" comments for an opinion thread. It might help you to get more valid data.

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
... one HUGE benefit of federal retirement that is real.

If these members would take federal employment for just five years, from age 57-62, they would have the health insurance benefits in retirement and a FERS mini-pension too.
...
Like many/most federal employees you may have to relocate and take a job that is boring and does not utilize your skills or pay what you are used to getting, but you will get the health insurance and benefits. For more information check FERS Eligibility

(edited to add: Sorry if this sounds like a Public Service Announcement! )
Not at all - thanks for the info/reminder. I'm probably past the point of taking advantage of something like this, and hopefully I won't need it, but it might be appropriate for some people I know. I'll pass it on. It really could make a lot of sense for someone needing a "bridge" between their career and retirement.

Hard to say what the value of the Health Care benefit is, in light of the upcoming changes, but it couldn't hurt (at least I don't think so!).

-ERD50
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:15 AM   #11
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Yes, you are both right, and those questions are coming as soon as I can manage to an E-R poll near you! But some of us public employees do still have to show up at work to fund our bloated salaries and excessive benefits! I just ran out of time. In fact I stayed up later than I should have just to start the polls that are already going.
kyounge1956 - I'm really having trouble understanding why you are injecting those comments into the thread. It really doesn't help the discussion, and I think the perception is far, far off.

The first post in the thread you referenced at the start of this thread said "I'm fed up it with the bashing of public employees ... —this thread is a recent example.". So I looked at that thread, and here is a broad smattering of comments from the posters without public pensions:

Maybe because you've heard a lot of "bashing" in the past, you are maybe hyper-sensitive and read "bashing" into every comment on the subject? I dunno, but I honestly don't see it. (snip)
It was an (obviously unsuccessful) attempt at snide humor. I just meant, “The rest of the polls will not be posted until later because I’m not retired yet and right now, I have to leave for work”.

I plead guilty to being thin-skinned, and probably more than ordinarily so on this particular issue. As for "bashing"—I wasn't referring so much to the comments as to the topic itself. IMO, threads that cite extreme examples as if they were typical of the whole, are no more nor less than negative stereotyping of public employees. The whole flavor of it is “let’s paint the public employees in as ugly colors as possible. Let’s make them all look bad, based on the misdeeds of a few.” It’s bashing to keep bringing this sort of bad examples up again and again, when they represent only a minority of public employees as a whole.

I don't dispute that some of the non-government workers who have described their experiences in pension-related threads got a raw deal, but it wasn’t public employees who ripped them off. The money in their pension fund wasn't siphoned off and added to a public employees' retirement system, now was it? Why then is the focus turned on public employees instead of the people who actually perpetrated the ripoff?

I expect my polls to show that in most cases the public employees and retirees at E-R are not guilty of the abuses illustrated by the stories, that in fact such abuses (spiking and the like) are not even possible in most pension systems that E-R members are part of, and (where underfunding of a pension fund was caused by failure of the sponsoring government entity to put in the money they were supposed to) they are as much victims of a ripoff as the private employees whose pensions were closed down as related elsewhere. I expect them to show that fully COLA'd, six-figure, greater than base salary pensions at age 44, like the one described in the thread that prompted me to start these polls, are very much the exception, rather than the rule.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:20 AM   #12
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Report by BLS based on survey data in 2000

http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2003/04/art1full.pdf
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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If your retiree health insurance situation doesn't pan out, it seems to me that taking a low level federal job from 57-62 might be a great ESR job for you, Ziggy. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. At least, that is pretty much what I did although I managed to get a career job and did it for 10 years.
works out well if you have skills the gov't will accept at a later age. try joining the military after 40. want to be a NPS ranger? better get in before 40 as well.

while i hold more jealousy than animosity for those with loaded pensions, FERS is by no stretch of the imagination a cadillac plan. i agree with zig that it is a fair plan. i would argue the benefits in my private sector job is comparable to FERS.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:29 AM   #14
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It was an (obviously unsuccessful) attempt at snide humor.
I understand it was an attempt at humor - it was also obvious that there was an emotional driver behind the 'humor' that spoke loud and clear.

Quote:
As for "bashing"—I wasn't referring so much to the comments as to the topic itself. IMO, threads that cite extreme examples as if they were typical of the whole, are no more nor less than negative stereotyping of public employees. The whole flavor of it is “let’s paint the public employees in as ugly colors as possible. Let’s make them all look bad, based on the misdeeds of a few.”
I'd suggest that you re-read that post from Texas Proud again then. I just don't see it in that light at all. He mentions the problems that many public pensions are facing (a fact) and cites this as (as he sees it) one example of the problem. I can't find even a hint of any bashing of the employee or public employees in general in that post.


Quote:
I don't dispute that some of the non-government workers who have described their experiences in pension-related threads got a raw deal, but it wasn’t public employees who ripped them off. The money in their pension fund wasn't siphoned off and added to a public employees' retirement system, now was it? Why then is the focus turned on public employees instead of the people who actually perpetrated the ripoff?
As I keep saying (and gave numerous examples), I don't see the blame being placed on the public employees - posters hear are mostly calling for changes to the system, and hold the politicians responsible. And, to the extent that those pensions are funded by tax dollars, yes, they are pulling from my retirement funds. IL is looking at raising the income tax rate, and lately my IL tax has been higher than my Fed tax. Maybe later I'll dig up how much of my property tax is supporting pensions.

Quote:
I expect my polls to show that in most cases the public employees and retirees at E-R are not guilty of the abuses illustrated by the stories,
I think you could make that point better with data. A self selected survey really carries no weight. And considering the polarization this subject seems to cause, I doubt that many public sector posters would admit to "gaming the system" here, even if they managed it. They might even be motivated to click an artificially low number - who knows?

Quote:
I expect them to show that fully COLA'd, six-figure, greater than base salary pensions at age 44, like the one described in the thread that prompted me to start these polls, are very much the exception, rather than the rule.
Bank robberies and hurricanes are the exception too, and they make the news and are topics of discussion. According to your standards, any perceived negative subject is off-bounds, as we might attribute that to all members of that group. I'm often the first to jump in whenever anyone says "all", "none", never", "always" "everyone", "no one" - if anyone applies those sorts of broad brush statements to public employees, it deserves to be challenged. But not for any statement at all.

-ERD50
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:12 AM   #15
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And a 3rd & 4th question:

3) At what age are you eligible at this % (or adjust for age 55 or something)?

I can't vote in this poll, but my private pension is cut in half if I take it at 55 YO rather than 65. So your example of being eligible would not be comparable to someone who gives the %, but cannot take it until 65 at that %. So my % at 55 would be roughly 0.7% per year of service.

4) Cola, NO-COLA, or DIET-COLA? Mine is NON-COLA, so it's value is roughly half of a full COLA pension, so maybe 0.35% per year of service.

And possibly a 5th:

How was your "Final Earnings" calculated? Was there any 'spiking', was accumulated vacation or other time included? No and no in my case (again a private pension), but these Q's would apply to comparing public pensions - I assume these could all vary municipality to municipality.

Aren't polls fun?

-ERD50
5-6 % reduction per year is actuarially about right.
Our analysts consider the full cola to be worth 25% more than no cola

In our state pension its final three years, base salary no overtime and and any pay raise over 10 % in the final 5 years gets examined by a special committee who can and do disallow the increase.

Our actuaries consider the old state pension to be worth about 21% of the salary base. The employee paid 7% and the State 14%. Our salary studies showed most non unionized state professional employees (my category) to be 25% below private sector workers before pensions are included and 10% below with pensions included.

In the old system sick leave did not affect the salary computation but once you were eligible a certain amount was added . I.e. once I had thirty years they computed in the sick leave to give me 31.5 years of service which was a 5% increase in the pension.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #16
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kyounge1956,

Again, I am not bashing the employees... but this will sound like it...


Who said that we can not CHANGE how we compensate our civil servents

Why can we not just stop your pension right now? Sure, under federal law you will get everything promised to you up to the day it was closed, but if you continue to work your do not get any more years of service nor does your salary change We can change to a cash based plan going forward.

You seem to be saying that your pension plan is untouchable. I disagree. I am not saying we should not pay you what you have accrued, but I also think that we have to change things going forward to a level that is affordable. If we do that and you do not like the new plan, you have the right to go get another job in the private sector.... Remember, that is the logic that we are being told from the public sector when it happened to us.

I know in Texas they raised the age when you can get your full pension... but they did not change the formula as far as I know... is ours affordable I really do not know. I suspect that it is not. I think something needs to be done.

And just to let you know, I have 3 of my family memebers getting checks from it... and one sister will be getting a check from Oregon when she retires... a SIL also from Texas.. my best friend and his two sisters will also be getting a check... it is not like some of my family and friends do not have skin in the game...
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #17
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Our analysts consider the full cola to be worth 25% more than no cola
Do some FIRECALC runs and see what it says.

What methodology did your analysts use? I suspect that FIRECALC with actual data that encompasses volatility and that runs the cycles of inflation against market returns is a bit more stringent, and probably more realistic than many models.

Would you really trade COLA for a 25% higher non-COLA? The COLA provides a significant longevity risk cushion, which is exactly what most of us are looking for. If I make it to the higher end of my life expectancy, my pension will likely be relatively small change at that point.

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Old 10-21-2010, 09:42 AM   #18
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Our analysts consider the full cola to be worth 25% more than no cola
This is very age-dependent, though.

For someone who starts collecting a pension at 50, a full COLA is *much* more valuable than for someone who retires at 70.
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