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Thread: OT - Pension Benefits Now and Then

  1. #31
    You can purchase those annuities in an 401k if you plan administrator offers it. But the facts are that they are high in cost (commissions, etc) and you have very little recourse in terms of the ability to invest the money / diversify if you want. You are also limited to the amount of money that you could contribute to the 401k limits of the plan. it also is difficult if you want to move employers.


    But if an employer is going to do a match or profit share into your 401k plan your employer may be able to offer these and give a decent amount to where it is actually valuable. One of the most easy things to do in this regard is to fully fund your 401k, and then purchase a single premium annuity if you are concerned about receiving a minimum lifetime contribution, which most plans can do for you as a distribution option. Or roll your money out and then do that if you plan does not have that type of option.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Go!Bears View Post
    You might want to reread it again if you think that is the tone that I struck. The line you chose to spark your grievance was part of a paragraph: "Why would a pension system give service credit to someone who had not purchased it? In my system we pay 8+% of our salary annually for a year of credit (and it is going up). We don't get a pension for free. Why do veterans?"

    The pension system is giving them years of service credit without service - for free. If you had paid any attention to the rest of the post you might have seen that my point was not that veterans do not deserve pensions but that the Federal government is the agency that that owes them, not a state public pension fund.
    First of all, from what I understand, veterans (who did not retire from the military) purchase their service credit time from CALPERS. It is not "free." Those who have retired from the military are not eligible to purchase their time back since they are already receiving retirement benefits from the Federal Government. Other states have programs that are equally or more generous. Frankly, those years that are purchased back are a small benefit that is used to attract veterans who often have valuable skills the state needs. You can't tell me that the cost of veteran's benefits are the reason any state pension fund is in trouble. Frankly, the state probably gets a great return on its investment in these individuals, and anyways, it is a small cost when considering the overall societal benefits of compensating those who have served our country (which last time I checked, California was part of the United States).

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by MarylandBear View Post
    First of all, from what I understand, veterans (who did not retire from the military) purchase their service credit time from CALPERS. It is not "free." Those who have retired from the military are not eligible to purchase their time back since they are already receiving retirement benefits from the Federal Government. Other states have programs that are equally or more generous. Frankly, those years that are purchased back are a small benefit that is used to attract veterans who often have valuable skills the state needs. You can't tell me that the cost of veteran's benefits are the reason any state pension fund is in trouble. Frankly, the state probably gets a great return on its investment in these individuals, and anyways, it is a small cost when considering the overall societal benefits of compensating those who have served our country (which last time I checked, California was part of the United States).
    I have a friend who served 10 years in the AF and is now working for the federal government. He said it cost $7,000 to purchase 10 years' of service credit for his federal government pension. No, it's not free, only nearly free. Plus his kids can go to any UC or CSU without tuition. That's a pretty good benefit right there.

    Also, after a couple of beers, any veteran will tell you that there is rampant fraud and abuse of the military disability benefit system. Military doctors who are part of the system freely give out diagnoses of disability with very generous benefits. A common ruse is to say you have sleep apnea, get a disability diagnosis, and never have to work another day in your life, with free health care. Other common ruses are to point to common "getting older" ailments like lower back pain, slight hearing loss, etc., say you got them from your service, and get lifetime disability payments. One guy I know told the doctor that a birth mark was a skin lesion he got overseas and he gets $600/month. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the vast majority of military disability claims are BS.

    People don't want to criticize veterans like they are untouchable. Yes, they deserve what was promised to them, and the ones injured in combat should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. But they don't deserve to defraud the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, there is zero political will to fix the problem.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by CAL6371 View Post
    The greatest abuse of public employee pensions are those of firemen. It is rare for a fireman in California to retire without a disability pension. They are the most coddled public servants I have ever seen - paid to sleep, can accumulate huge amounts of overtime pay to raise their pension payout, very few are badly injured in counties like mine, no one shouts abuse at them, they don't get pelted with rocks and garbage by onlookers, no one shoots at them, everyone is glad to see them etc. That is one of the hidden scandals no one discusses.
    Yeah, I remember the newspaper story 10-15 years ago about the Dublin or Pleasanton fire chief who retired at 55 with a $400K annual pension for his life and the life of his spouse.

    But the prison guard pensions are the most generous/scandalous.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by MarylandBear View Post
    First of all, from what I understand, veterans (who did not retire from the military) purchase their service credit time from CALPERS. It is not "free." Those who have retired from the military are not eligible to purchase their time back since they are already receiving retirement benefits from the Federal Government. Other states have programs that are equally or more generous. Frankly, those years that are purchased back are a small benefit that is used to attract veterans who often have valuable skills the state needs. You can't tell me that the cost of veteran's benefits are the reason any state pension fund is in trouble. Frankly, the state probably gets a great return on its investment in these individuals, and anyways, it is a small cost when considering the overall societal benefits of compensating those who have served our country (which last time I checked, California was part of the United States).
    You seem hung up on the word free. I don't know Calpers details, so I will stick to what I do know. In my system, 10 years service credit is worth 25% of your final salary. If fuzzy is right and you pay $7,000. for 10 years service credit, that one time $7,000. investment will net you $25,000. per year if your final salary is 100 k. You want to tell me veterans are not getting something for nothing? Calpers does not owe the veteran anything. America might, but Calpers doesn't. America should be the one paying.

    To your other point, that this sweet deal is required to attract veterans, that may be and in that case the high pension costs are just the cost of doing business. You shouldn't hire someone, agree on a price and then complain when you have to pay them. You knew what it was going in.

  6. #36
    I just emailed my ticket rep and told him Dykes wasn't why I am not renewing but the posers (t not obmitter) who claim genius status on issues they don't know the first thing about and their posts prove it.

    Military time is not free, but purchased.

    90% (not 93%) is the public safety cap for all safety amployees.

    Firefighters work 56 hours a week, or 40% more than anyone on a 40. It's cute you think they sleep all night, but they also are not home 3 out of 7 nights a week.

    Federal FF's are not and never were part of PERS.

    Members eligible for safety retirement also are eligible to die before they retire.

    Most firefighters DO NOT retire on disability. Check actual facts, not anectdotal heresy.

    PEPRA has screwed recruitment of public safety personnel. Low numbers overall and less highly qualified candidates. But lucky you...they get to work until 57. So you're cops and FF's will likely retire more on disability in the future! And you'll have shady side cadavers patrolling your streets and trying to pull your unfortunate ass out of a fire.

    No Fire Chief (except Bell) ever made $444,000 to qualify for a $400,000 annual pension. Sorry. Final year compensation of $444,000 is possible but with non-persable cash out. Just like your stocks/buyouts/etc.

    We take applications from everyone. If you think our jobs are so cushy and so profitable and cherries and roses...come apply! Your spouse might enjoy a few nights without all the hot air from "know it all."

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyWuzzy View Post
    I have a friend who served 10 years in the AF and is now working for the federal government. He said it cost $7,000 to purchase 10 years' of service credit for his federal government pension. No, it's not free, only nearly free. Plus his kids can go to any UC or CSU without tuition. That's a pretty good benefit right there.

    Also, after a couple of beers, any veteran will tell you that there is rampant fraud and abuse of the military disability benefit system. Military doctors who are part of the system freely give out diagnoses of disability with very generous benefits. A common ruse is to say you have sleep apnea, get a disability diagnosis, and never have to work another day in your life, with free health care. Other common ruses are to point to common "getting older" ailments like lower back pain, slight hearing loss, etc., say you got them from your service, and get lifetime disability payments. One guy I know told the doctor that a birth mark was a skin lesion he got overseas and he gets $600/month. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the vast majority of military disability claims are BS.

    People don't want to criticize veterans like they are untouchable. Yes, they deserve what was promised to them, and the ones injured in combat should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. But they don't deserve to defraud the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, there is zero political will to fix the problem.
    Your friend was probably bragging/gloating and embellishing. The contribution is based on salary at the time of service for prior credit. If he paid $7,000 for 10 years he made around $3,500/yr. more likely is he paid $70,000 for 10 years for a $35,000 salary.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by BearlyAggie View Post
    I just emailed my ticket rep and told him Dykes wasn't why I am not renewing but the posers (t not obmitter) who claim genius status on issues they don't know the first thing about and their posts prove it.

    Military time is not free, but purchased.

    90% (not 93%) is the public safety cap for all safety amployees.

    Firefighters work 56 hours a week, or 40% more than anyone on a 40. It's cute you think they sleep all night, but they also are not home 3 out of 7 nights a week.

    Federal FF's are not and never were part of PERS.

    Members eligible for safety retirement also are eligible to die before they retire.

    Most firefighters DO NOT retire on disability. Check actual facts, not anectdotal heresy.

    PEPRA has screwed recruitment of public safety personnel. Low numbers overall and less highly qualified candidates. But lucky you...they get to work until 57. So you're cops and FF's will likely retire more on disability in the future! And you'll have shady side cadavers patrolling your streets and trying to pull your unfortunate ass out of a fire.

    No Fire Chief (except Bell) ever made $444,000 to qualify for a $400,000 annual pension. Sorry. Final year compensation of $444,000 is possible but with non-persable cash out. Just like your stocks/buyouts/etc.

    We take applications from everyone. If you think our jobs are so cushy and so profitable and cherries and roses...come apply! Your spouse might enjoy a few nights without all the hot air from "know it all."
    I'm sorry you take offense but just about the only people who don't think public safety pensions are too generous are public safety personnel (and their families). The average firefighter retiring at age 50 after a HS education and 30 years of service will get over $100K per year for the rest of his life, plus health care benefits. These are not fire chiefs but rank and file guys. If he dies first, his spouse will get the annual payment. To put that in perspective, if a healthy 50 year old went to an insurance company and said I want to buy a $100K annuity for my life and the life of my spouse, it would probably cost $4 million. That is a large pile of money well beyond the reach of virtually any non-entrepeneurial worker who is not taking economic risk. A worker without a pension might have to save something like $60K per year for 30 years, to accumulate a pile of money like that. That is why you regularly have 5,000 applicants for 5 junior firefighter jobs. The market is telling you the pension is too generous.

    And unless they are working overtime, the firefighters I know work 2 days on, 6 days off. That's a little over 40 hours a week.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by BearlyAggie View Post
    Your friend was probably bragging/gloating and embellishing. The contribution is based on salary at the time of service for prior credit. If he paid $7,000 for 10 years he made around $3,500/yr. more likely is he paid $70,000 for 10 years for a $35,000 salary.
    Nope, he said $7,000. He is a computer expert with security clearance and makes six figures.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Go!Bears View Post
    You seem hung up on the word free. I don't know Calpers details, so I will stick to what I do know. In my system, 10 years service credit is worth 25% of your final salary. If fuzzy is right and you pay $7,000. for 10 years service credit, that one time $7,000. investment will net you $25,000. per year if your final salary is 100 k. You want to tell me veterans are not getting something for nothing? Calpers does not owe the veteran anything. America might, but Calpers doesn't. America should be the one paying.

    To your other point, that this sweet deal is required to attract veterans, that may be and in that case the high pension costs are just the cost of doing business. You shouldn't hire someone, agree on a price and then complain when you have to pay them. You knew what it was going in.
    The latest statistics I can find indicate there are around 2 million living veterans in California, out of a state population of almost 40 million.
    National numbers indicate around 22 million vets out of a population of around 320 million. Both numbers are probably going to drop as the last of the Vietnam era/draft veterans age off. The fact is since we went to a volunteer force, a smaller and smaller percentage of the population are choosing to serve in the military. Finally, only a percentage of those eligible take advantage of the benefits due to them. Sadly, many aren't aware of the benefits they may receive and never apply.

    Vets, FF, LE, all sign on a dotted line and take an oath to accept sacrifice as part of their public service. We've been at war for the last fifteen years, which for vets - even those that do not see direct combat - has meant multiple deployments in very dangerous places, stop-loss, years at a time away from family, living in austere conditions, constant moves, arbitrary personnel decisions "for the good of the service." It is a hard life. Sure, you may find folks who didn't encounter danger in their non-combat arms occupation specialty, but what you forget is those folks are subject to get called into dangerous circumstances at any time.

    My point is that even generous Veteran's benefits (and benefit for high-risk public servants like FF or Law Enforcement) help a very small population of individuals who made huge sacrifices for the greater good. I'm sure there is fraud, waste, and abuse in the veteran's benefits system, as there are in any public benefits program. That doesn't mean you should shut down or reduce the overall program. And again, you can't tell me the insolvency of any pension program is based on the benefits we give veterans.

  11. #41
    In San Diego, which has had an ongoing pension funding crisis due to intentional underfunding to build among other things a sports stadium, half the public employees are public safety personnel who retire 20 years (or more) earlier than other public employees. The pension benefit funding is based on employees working 40 years and retiring at age 67-70, not 40. Because of the earlier ages at which they can draw pensions, public safety personnel are estimated to account for between 2/3rds and 3/4qtrs of the pension benefits paid each year. Fiscal reformers attacking the pension funding problems have concentrated on the employees that get 25% of the benefits, largely ignoring the bulk of the problem.

    A lot of these retired, public safety personnel, are small business entrepreneurs. They take a buyout bonus, use it to launch a small business, invest 100% of earnings into their business, and live off their pensions. I wonder if anyone has studied their success rate; from the few I have seen they are more successful than most small business start-ups. Compared to older retirees approaching 70 when they draw their pensions, they also have a lot more youthful vigor and energy.

    In regard to the survivor's benefits I may receive from my wife's retirement plan; there is another mistake we made in our planning. My wife worked until she was physically unable to comfortably work a nine hour day and long enough to get retirement benefits. She was being treated by a lung specialist for COPD. What she didn't know when she retired was that she was medically disabled and could have received a medical retirement which would have started immediately instead of having to wait ten years. She was able to receive Social Security disability payments, but again I can't receive Social Security benefits without losing an equal amount of my own pension. I suspect that disability scams have gotten enough attention that medical plans deliberately do not inform patients that they are medically disabled and qualify for a medical disability retirement. This is probably an issue similar to private insurers 'death panels' that do not offer life-saving treatments in their medical coverage. But this is straying off-topic, but my benefits would have been more if we had known about her disability before she left Federal Service. Bottom line; DON'T RETIRE before checking to see if you could be medically disabled.


    Quote Originally Posted by MarylandBear View Post
    The latest statistics I can find indicate there are around 2 million living veterans in California, out of a state population of almost 40 million.
    National numbers indicate around 22 million vets out of a population of around 320 million. Both numbers are probably going to drop as the last of the Vietnam era/draft veterans age off. The fact is since we went to a volunteer force, a smaller and smaller percentage of the population are choosing to serve in the military. Finally, only a percentage of those eligible take advantage of the benefits due to them. Sadly, many aren't aware of the benefits they may receive and never apply.

    Vets, FF, LE, all sign on a dotted line and take an oath to accept sacrifice as part of their public service. We've been at war for the last fifteen years, which for vets - even those that do not see direct combat - has meant multiple deployments in very dangerous places, stop-loss, years at a time away from family, living in austere conditions, constant moves, arbitrary personnel decisions "for the good of the service." It is a hard life. Sure, you may find folks who didn't encounter danger in their non-combat arms occupation specialty, but what you forget is those folks are subject to get called into dangerous circumstances at any time.

    My point is that even generous Veteran's benefits (and benefit for high-risk public servants like FF or Law Enforcement) help a very small population of individuals who made huge sacrifices for the greater good. I'm sure there is fraud, waste, and abuse in the veteran's benefits system, as there are in any public benefits program. That doesn't mean you should shut down or reduce the overall program. And again, you can't tell me the insolvency of any pension program is based on the benefits we give veterans.
    Last edited by sp4149; 02-23-2017 at 07:10 AM. Reason: spelling

  12. #42
    FuzzyThinking - You equate the workday life of prison guard to the work?day life of fireman ? Absurd - not even apples to oranges - more like sewage to souffle.

  13. #43
    Have you ever met a fireman who doesn't also have a job on the site in his off duty hours? I haven't. That's not true of cops.

  14. #44
    http://www.investors.com/politics/co...ension-crisis/

    Nowadays, America's most persistent public dishonesties are the wildly optimistic, but politically convenient, expectations for returns on pension fund investments. Last year, when Illinois reduced its expected return on its teachers' retirement fund from 7.5% to 7%, this meant a $400 million to $500 million addition to the taxes needed annually for the fund. And expecting 7% is probably imprudent. Add to the Illinois example the problems of the 49 other states that have pension debt of at least $19 thousand dollars per household and numerous municipalities, and you will understand why many jurisdictions will be considering buyouts, whereby government workers are offered a lump sum in exchange for smaller pension benefits. Last September, in the seventh year of the recovery from the Great Recession, the vice chair of the agency in charge of Oregon's government workers' pension system wept when speaking about the state's unfunded pension promises passing $22 billion.
    So is the only recourse for these chronically underfunding issues is to raise taxes(that is if you don't want to renege on the promised obligations?)

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post
    Forty years ago my father passed away just after his 55th birthday, my mother qualified for survivor's benefit pension of $437 a month. My father had been making $28K a year as a facility
    engineer of a paper company at their headquarters. He had been with the company for over 25 years. When she was old enough my mother also got Social Security.

    Thirty five years later my wife passed away, almost 55, she had over 20 years as an environmental engineer with the Navy and was making a little over $90K a year. Last Week the Federal retirement administrators notified me that I was eligible for a survivor's benefit of $401 a month. I am not eligible for Social Security benefits. For my entire career, Presidents from Reagan on had told professionals like me that we didn't deserve comparable salaries because of our generous pensions compared to the private sector. I spent the weekend thinking about how poorly my wife's pension benefit was compared to that of my father's forty years ago at less than a third the salary. It hit home hard to realize that unless you are a member of the warrior class you won't be able to live on your pension, the middle class expectations of the fifties are pretty much dead.
    Condolences on your wife's passing.

    Sorry about the disappointment over your pension. I know it is anecdotal, but I was just playing golf with a firefighter who was complaining about efforts to cap salaries at 100K for pension calculations (my reaction: people get paid 100K to be a regular every day fire fighter? WTF?). I think the devil is in the details and the particular agency one works for matters.



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