Coffee Breaks

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Wondering when a retirement meeting will be held in this area? Rolla Mo. 65401
Thank you for your interest in MOSERS’ post-retirement Coffee Break meetings. While we do have sessions in Jefferson City, Springfield, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau and various other locations, we do not have any scheduled in Rolla. We try to cover the state as much as possible, but budget limitations require that we pick locations that have the largest concentrations of retired members. You are welcome to attend any of the other sessions if that is possible for you. Find out more about post-retirement Coffee Breaks on the MOSERS  website. We will post the 2014 schedule in December or January.  These Coffee Breaks allow us to reach out to our retirees, give you a chance to have face-to-face communication with MOSERS staff, and provide you with the opportunity to interact with other state retirees in your area.

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Windfall Elimination Provision

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I heard about the federal Windfall Elimination Provision that a person receives a pension will have his/her social security benefits reduced. I am in MOSERS. When I retire, will my SS benefits be reduced?
No.  Your MOSERS pension benefit will not trigger the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) According to the Social Security Administration, “If you work for an employer who does not withhold social security taxes from your salary (emphasis added), such as a government agency or an employer in another country, any pension you get based on that work may reduce your social security benefits.” In Missouri, those positions are most generally certified teachers or uniformed police officers or firefighters.  As a MOSERS member, your employer does withhold social security taxes from your salary. You would only be affected by the WEP if you earned a pension from other employment and did not pay social security taxes while in that position. You can find more information about the WEP here.

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Security of Your MOSERS Benefit

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I have heard that there is some politician that wants the legislature to be separated from regular state employees and that he wants to do away with our pensions. This was brought up at an A.R.M.S.E. meeting.
Rest assured; your MOSERS pension benefits are secure. Two of MOSERS benefits staff members and the executive director did attend all or part of the ARMSE meeting, but we did not present to the ARMSE members about the issue you have raised.  Certainly, public pension plans have been under attack in various media and academic reports, so we understand why you may be concerned. The benefits provided to retirees are obligations of the State of Missouri. The law stipulates that no alteration, amendment, or repeal of the MOSERS law shall affect the then-existing rights of retirees. Additionally, Missouri has consistently fully funded the amount determined by independent actuaries to properly and responsibly fund the pension plan.

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Life Insurance in Retirement

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How would a retiree qualify for life insurance? Did I miss something by taking an early retirement? Is it too late to enroll? What are the rules governing life insurance for retirees? i could not find answers to these questions on your website. Thanks
In order to qualify for life insurance as a retiree, you must have been an eligible employee while actively employed. Then, regardless of whether you elect normal retirement (unreduced benefit) or early retirement (reduced benefit), as long as you retire within 60 days of leaving state employment, the state will continue to pay for $5,000 of basic life insurance. Additionally, if you were enrolled in optional life insurance coverage on your last working day, you may continue some if not all of that coverage into retirement. You can find more information in the MOSERS Basic and Optional Life Insurance Handbook on our website. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday Top Five September 27 2013

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The Friday Top Five: A collection of the top five news articles, blog posts, or other retirement related information from the past week.

From the Squared Away blog: Social Security Claiming and Psychology

From the post: "It’s common for people to begin collecting their Social Security benefits soon after they turn 62, ignoring the financial planners and retirement experts urging them to postpone and increase the size of their monthly checks.

A new study has uncovered four powerful psychological traits that influence this decision: the individual’s expected longevity, his fear of loss, whether he perceives the Social Security system as fair, and patience."

From the National Association of State Retirement Administrators: NASRA has a new website!

From the new page: "Welcome to the newly redesigned We are working to bring NASRA-related research on public retirement systems, as well as supporting resources and information, together in one site. As you explore the content, let us know via email what you think."

From Government Executive: The Retirement Wave You Didn’t See Coming

From the article: "You’ve likely heard of the impending government retirement wave.  For a decade, agency leaders have been monitoring their workforce demographics with increasing concern. Low attrition rates combined with less hiring have produced a static employee base that grows older with each passing year."

From The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: How Sensitive Is Public Pension Funding to Investment Returns?

The brief’s key findings are:

  • To assess the sensitivity of pension funding to investment returns, the analysis projects funded ratios through 2042 for large public plans using:

    • a stochastic model of year-to-year returns; and

    • a median real return of 4.45 percent, the average used by plans in 2012.

  • The baseline results show that the funded ratio for the 50th-percentile outcome does not reach 100 percent because:

    • plans pay only 80 percent of annual required contributions (ARC); and

    • amortization approaches produce inadequate contributions.

  • Paying 100 percent of the ARC and using more robust funding approaches leads to near full funding by the end of the period.

  • However, even under these more favorable scenarios, the variability of returns still poses risks of funding shortfalls.

From The National Institute on Retirement Security: The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think?

A new study from NIRS "finds retirement savings are dangerously low, and the U.S. retirement savings deficit is between $6.8 and $14.0 trillion."

 The views expressed by the writers of these pieces are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MOSERS. Print Friendly and PDF

Cafeteria Plan and Retirees

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Cafeteria Plan - I realize that the federal government will not allow retirees to run their insurance premiums through the cafeteria plan as active employees do. However, it would be most helpful to state retirees to be able to set aside money via the cafeteria plan (as current employees do) in order to pay for out of pocket expenses toward medical insurance co-pays, vision and dental expenses as other states do. [W]hy can't legislators enact legislation to allow retirees to participate as fully as possible in the cafeteria plan?
Cafeteria plans, also called flexible savings accounts (FSA), are governed by federal regulations that restrict participants to employees only, which is why those benefits are unavailable to retirees. Since these plans are authorized and controlled by federal laws/regulations, the state cannot expand coverage to include retirees.

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Friday Top Five September 13 2013

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The Friday Top Five: A collection of the top five news articles, blog posts, or other retirement related information from the past week.

From Pension Dialog: Is There Always Truth in Numbers?

In this post, PS again calls to task State Budget Solutions, and its report "Promises Made, Promises Broken - The Betrayal of Pensioners and Taxpayers," for "grossly inflat[ing] unfunded state pension liabilities." PD goes on to suggest that "understanding what numbers are being used and why is thus essential." This is a great post. You should read it.

From aiCIO: The Politics of Pensions

From the article: "A study of state lawmakers’ voting records from 1999 through 2011 has determined that Democrats and Republicans heavily supported expanding pension benefits until 2009. During the first three years of the data set, 34 states passed bills boosting liabilities, while just a single state—South Dakota—reduced benefits. But the financial crisis brought an end to both this largesse and political consensus, the researchers found."

Also From aiCIO: MOSERS, Exelon, AIMCo, BP Vie for aiCIO’s Industry Innovation Awards

MOSERS' CIO Rick Dahl and his investments team are nominated as a finalist in aiCIO's 2013 Industry Innovation Awards, in the Public Pension Plan Below $15 Billion category. Winners will be announced on December 9, 2013.

From the Too Much Blog: Remember When People Had Pensions?

This is a blog post on a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) called the Retirement Inequality Chartbook. From the post: '“Retirement insecurity,” write the two authors of the new EPI study, economists Monique Morrissey and Natalie Sabadish, “has worsened for most Americans as retirement wealth has become more unequal.”'

From MarketWatch's Encore Blog: Do 401(k)s Add to Economic Inequality?

Here's another take on the recent report (mentioned above) by the EPI. From the post: "The EPI is a think-tank that puts a big emphasis on lower- and middle-class economic issues and has strong relationships with organized labor. The report, by economists Monique Morrissey and Natalie Sabadish, advances the broader argument that the migration of retirement plans away from pensions and toward 401(k)s has undermined middle-income people’s retirements."

Please note that there will be no FTF on 9/20/13.

The views expressed by the writers of these pieces are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MOSERS. Print Friendly and PDF

COLAs in the Current Economy

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Is it true that Cost of Living raises for pensions of 4% have been happening every year, even in this bad economy?
Cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for those retirees who retired under the MSEP, who were hired prior to 8/28/97, and who have not met their COLA cap receive a 4% COLA each year. Those retirees who retired under the MSEP, who were hired on or after 8/28/97, who have met their COLA cap, and MSEP 2000 retirees receive an annual COLA that is based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI from one year to the next. Typically COLA caps are met within 12-13 years. You can read more about COLAs on our website.

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Do I Contribute 4% to MOSERS?

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I was hired before the pension contribution change. If I change jobs now to another department of the state, will my retirement funds go with me to the new department? Will my pension still be 100% funded by the State or will I have to contribute 4%? Thank you
The 4% employee contribution applies only to those who were first hired in a benefit-eligible position on or after January 1, 2011. If you began work in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position before January 1, 2011, you do not have to contribute the 4%. You can read more about which plan you are in on our website.

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Does Home Daycare Count Toward Credited Service?

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I was told that if you had a Missouri licensed child daycare home that this would count towards your credit hours worked. Is this true? Thanks for your assistance.
No this is not true. We record your service as it is reported to us by your employing agency. You will only receive service credit for periods that your employer reports you worked in a benefit-eligible position.
Temporary and part-time positions are not usually benefit-eligible, and are not generally counted as service credit for retirement purposes.

A self-employed day care would not be considered state employment as you will not be paid by the state or employed by a state department. Rather, you will be paid by the parent of the children for whom you provide care.

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Marriage Equality and MOSERS Benefits

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I was legally married in Iowa in 2009, a state where marriage equality is legal. My marriage, however, is not recognized in Missouri. I plan to retire within the next year or so. Given the possibility of my marriage being recognized nationwide at some point, would I then be given the option to switch my “Life Income Annuity” to a “Joint & 50% Survivor” or “Joint & 100% Survivor” benefit? What if I choose to retire under the plans that provide 120 or 180 guaranteed payments; could I switch these to a “Joint & 50% Survivor” or “Joint & 100% Survivor” benefit? 
We have no way to determine what options may be available in the future should Missouri eventually recognize your marriage. If your marriage is ultimately recognized in Missouri, MOSERS would make every effort to notify all members of the change of their options at that time.

Please understand that we realize that this response does not provide the specificity that you are seeking. However, it would be irresponsible for us to attempt to provide answers regarding your future options based on speculation regarding potential court decisions or legislative changes.

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Friday Top Five September 6 2013

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The Friday Top Five: A collection of the top five news articles, blog posts, or other retirement related information from the past week.

From The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS): Retirement Lessons from Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands

"The goal of the research is to assess the level of security and risk provided by each country’s retirement system through the layers of income replacement provided by government, employer, and individual programs. In addition, this paper highlights key issues and lessons for consideration by U.S. policymakers and stakeholders."

From The Washington Post's Wonkblog: 401(k)s Are Replacing Pensions. That’s Making Inequality Worse.

Lots of interesting and informative charts in this post.

From The Wall Street Journal's Encore Blog: The Costs of End-of-Life Care

"End-of-life care isn't a pleasant topic to address. It's made more daunting by the unexpected turns in our physical and mental health as we age."

From HuffPost Business: Thanks, Diana Nyad -- for Proving Persistence Pays

From the post: "Don't give up. Diana Nyad's lesson in persistence is particularly applicable to all those who are approaching retirement age and figure it's "too late"! Nyad is 64 -- the age when many are considering taking early Social Security. But she didn't give up her goals, or let age deter her. And swimming from Cuba to Florida is a lot more difficult than working a few more years to build your savings reserve."

From The New York Times: Gay and Married Couples in New Land of Taxation

From the article: "Gay couples can now plan for how their financial lives will change when it comes to federal taxes, even though big questions remain about benefits like Social Security and veterans’ benefits. The ruling applies to a broad range of tax rules where marriage comes into play, and some will result in major savings. Some couples will no longer have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes on the value of their spouse’s health insurance, something their opposite-sex peers did not have to pay. Individuals can inherit a spouse’s retirement account and other assets without any extra tax implications. Nonworking spouses will be able to open an I.R.A. on their spouse’s earnings record. And the list goes on."

The views expressed by the writers of these pieces are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MOSERS. Print Friendly and PDF