Out of State Taxes

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After retiring, relocating to a state that doesn't have state tax. Will MO. still deduct state taxes from retirement checks/ money withdrawn from Deferred Comp.
For your retirement benefit payment, MOSERS will not withhold taxes for any state other than Missouri. We recommend you contact the appropriate state and local tax authorities to determine the taxability of your MOSERS benefit.

For the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan, a mandatory 20% federal tax is withheld from all plan distributions. State taxes are not withheld, (unless you elect to do so), regardless of where you are living.

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Refund of Contributions for MSEP 2011

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A relative of mine has recently become a full-time state employee, but expects to work only two or three years. Since she won't become vested, will she be able to recoup her contributions to the retirement system?
Yes. An MSEP 2011 member who leaves state employment prior to becoming vested (10 years) may request a refund of their contributions. Interest will not continue to accrue on their contributions if they terminate employment prior to becoming vested. Members leaving a MOSERS-covered position have a number of options available for managing their pension assets. They may:
  • Option 1 - Leave their contributions with MOSERS (if they expect to return to a MOSERS-covered position.)
  • Option 2* - Rollover the total amount of their contributions plus interest into an IRA or qualified retirement plan.
  • Option 3* - Elect a combination rollover and cash payment (less applicable mandatory withholdings and IRS penalties).
  • Option 4* - Request a full refund (less applicable mandatory withholdings and IRS penalties).
Please see the Member Contributions (MSEP 2011) brochure on our website for more information.

* Please Note - By receiving a refund, terminated members forfeit all their credited service and any future rights to receive any retirement and long-term disability benefits, and rights to coverage through Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHCP) other than as a dependent under provisions of COBRA. 

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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/31

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From BenefitsPro: Retirement plan participation increased in 2013

Not since 2010 has the percentage of workers participating in an employment-based retirement plan risen, but in 2013 it finally did.

So says a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which found that in 2013, the percentage of all workers rose from 2010’s level of 39.7 percent to 40.8 percent.

From Huffington Post: 10 Things to Do to Prepare for Retirement

If retirement is on your horizon, there are 10 things to do now.

From US News: Investing: 2 men save same, end up $234K apart

Out here in Exampleland, Pete and Frank always leave Philadelphia at noon and pass Helen and Irma in Altoona at 4:30, but no one will tell you how fast they're going. And when you're planning for retirement, you can always figure out what percentage of your income you can save, but no one here will tell you what you'll have when you leave the office for the last time.

Today we're going to show why, and what you can learn from that — because you can always learn something in Exampleland. We're going to start with Joe, who started saving for retirement at age 30 in 1975 and retired at age 65. Joe's younger brother, Ralph, also started saving at age 30, but does so four years later. You'll soon see why Joe hates Ralph, and it's not because Ralph briefly dated Abba's Agnetha Fältskog while visiting relatives in Sweden.

From The US News: 4 Ways to Find Meaning In Retirement

Most of us paint mental pictures of happy stress-free days to be enjoyed in retirement. However, once you have rested up a bit, retirement can become mundane and even boring. You need to create your own fun and excitement and find a way to fill the hours with something meaningful. Here are a few ways to set yourself up for a fulfilling retirement.

From The Kansas City Star: Missouri pension system will no longer exclude same-sex couples

Same-sex spouses of state employees in Missouri who legally married in other states will soon be eligible for retirement benefits through the state employee pension plan.
Similar stories also appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Riverfront Times on Oct 27th and again in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Oct 30th.

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Legally Married Same-Sex Spouses Are Eligible for Lifetime Survivor Benefits

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How does the recent ruling in Jackson ordering the state to recognize same sex marriages legally performed in other states and the Missouri Attorney General's decision not to challenge that decision affect MOSERS?
 In response to the Jackson County Circuit Court ruling and the Attorney General’s decision not to challenge the decision, the Board of Trustees of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) took action on October 27, 2014 to change its policy and will no longer enforce section 104.012 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) which states, “For the purposes of public retirement systems administered pursuant to this chapter, any reference to the term “spouse” only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman”. This means that MOSERS retirees may elect a lifetime survivor benefit at retirement for their same-sex spouse to whom they were legally married in another state. Same-sex spouses of members who die prior to retirement may also be eligible for survivor benefits. The same laws and requirements that apply to legally married opposite-sex spouses will apply to legally married same-sex spouses.

The decision by the MOSERS Board will be implemented after the time for appealing the Jackson County Court decision has expired (November 13, 2014).

MOSERS members who believe they may be affected should contact a MOSERS benefit counselor to discuss the details of their individual situation at (800) 827-1063, (573) 632-6100 or mosers@mosers.org.

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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/24

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From BenefitsPro: 401(k) contribution limits raised to $18K

Will it help Americans save more for retirement?

Perhaps, though the more immediate impact of the news Thursday from the IRS was to once more focus attention on the savings rates of workers and their “retirement readiness.”

The news was certainly welcome by the industry – cost-of-living adjustments that will allow participants next year in 401(k), 403(b), 457 plans and those in the federal Thrift Savings Plan to boost their maximum annual elective deferral rate to $18,000, up from $17,500.

From The New York Times: Making Sure Retirement Savings Don’t Run Out

We are living longer, but the life expectancy of our money may have trouble keeping pace.

The combination of longer retirements and more exaggerated cycles in financial markets heightens what financial advisers call longevity risk, the possibility of running out of money before running out of time. But adjustments can be made to investment portfolios, financial plans and lifestyles — before and after retirement — to limit the risk, they say, without increasing other risks.

From Huffington Post: Baby Boomers and Student Loans are Pouring into Retirement

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. I knowingly wrote the words "baby boomers" and "student loans" in the same sentence. And yes, they are related. Surprised? So was I.

We talk a lot about the 10,000 baby boomers reaching age 65 every day and the challenges they face as they pour into retirement. One challenge rarely associated with baby boomers is how student loan debt is jeopardizing their retirement nest egg. Really? Student loan debt? That's a Millennial issue, right? Not exactly.

From USA Today: Investing: Can you retire on $1 million?

If you read any financial advertising, you know that your savings are inadequate, and you're likely to freeze to death in the dark a few weeks after retirement. For this reason, most Americans' retirement planning involves keeling over at their desks, or, failing that, starting a bomb-disposal unit as a retirement business.

But how much is enough? How about $1 million?

If results from the past decade are any indication, the answer is a moderately qualified "yes." The qualification depends on how much you withdraw each month, and how you invest it.

From Bank Investment Consultant: For Older Middle-Class Americans, Retirement Reality Check Kicks In

Investor optimism over their retirement readiness quickly fades with age.

That's one of the notable takeaways from the fifth annual Wells Fargo Middle-Class Retirement study released on Wednesday.

Almost half of the 1,000 middle-income Americans surveyed (48%) said they lacked confidence that they had saved enough for retirement. Among the older crowd—those between ages 50 and 59—the lack of confidence was much more prevalent, with 71% saying they hadn't saved enough "to live the retirement lifestyle they want."

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Retirement & Social Security

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Can I draw my MOSERS retirement check plus draw social security too?
Yes. In fact, the combination of your MOSERS defined benefit retirement plan, social security earnings, and personal savings & investment income form the foundation for a financially secure retirement. Use the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan’s RetiremenTrack program to help you see how these three sources of income add up for your retirement.

You may have heard about the temporary benefit that is available to members who retire under the MSEP 2000 or MSEP 2011. The temporary benefit is available in retirement until a person turns age 62 but the MOSERS base benefit continues for life.  Workers can apply for early social security benefits, with a reduction, at age 62. However, the two are technically unrelated. There are many Rumor Central questions that may provide you with more insight.

We recommend that you get a MOSERS benefit estimate and contact the Social Security Administration at (800)772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov for more information and details regarding your particular situation including your personal Social Security Statement.

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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/17/14

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From CBS MoneyWatch: How much longer might you live? Think Again

Consider this: A 65 year-old woman has a 50/50 chance of living another 20 years to age 85, according to an online calculator maintained by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). Similarly, a 65 year-old man has a 50/50 chance of living another 17 years to age 82.

This information might cause you some confusion if you've read that the average life expectancy in the U.S. is currently 81 for women and 76 for men. But these are life expectancies from birth -- they don't apply to someone who's already reached age 65.

From CNN Money: Seniors lose average of $30,000 to financial scammers

Senior victims of financial abuse report losing big money to scammers, caregivers and even their family members.

According to a recent survey of 2,000 seniors and other adults by Allianz Life Insurance Co., elderly victims reported losing an average of $30,000, while some suffered losses of more than $100,000.

From Forbes: Start Now: A Step By Step, Tough Love Guide To Saving For Retirement In Your 20s

As Stuart Ritter instructed new T. Rowe Price hires on the retirement savings options available to them, a woman in the back of the room at a recent orientation started pounding on the table in front of her. The 53 year-old told her mostly 20-something colleagues that after she graduated from college she figured saving for retirement would be easier once she paid off her student debt. Then she fell in love, so she saved for a wedding. Then for a house, some kids and college for those kids. Easier never came and 30-years after college graduation she doesn’t have any money saved for retirement. Her message: Don’t let this happen to you.

“There will always be competing demands for you money,” says Ritter, vice president of T. Rowe Price Investment Services. “There will always be more things you want to buy than money to buy them with. So the sooner you get past ‘O, but, I don’t have much money’ the better off you’ll be.”

From USA Today: How to find your passion after you retire

Many people want to continue working well beyond the traditional retirement age, and to do that they're finding new creative ways to stay employed in not just one new career, but two, three or more careers.

Take Fred Weinberg of New York City who retired at age 55 after working for almost three decades as a New York State parole officer who tracked down missing parolees.

From The Motley Fool: What the Retirement Calculators Won't Tell You

Saving enough for retirement has become a huge topic for today's baby boomers. There's no shortage of retirement calculators out there to help you determine whether you have what you need to enjoy your golden years.

Given the great divide between what the average boomer has saved for retirement and what he or she needs, it's understandable that many believe tomorrow's retirees are headed for absolute disaster.

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October Financial To-Dos

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It’s T-17 days until Halloween, but your mind might be set on something scarier than cackling witches and skeletons – falling behind on your financial plans! Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
For state employees, October is all about looking ahead and making decisions that will affect your 2015 budget. Here’s a list of things that you might want to plan for or review this month:

1. Book your holiday plans

You probably haven’t decorated your house with Christmas trees or lights yet, but October is a great month to start planning for the festivities, especially if you’re planning on taking a plane, train, or bus. Generally, tickets are cheaper on Tuesdays. Here’s 6 more money-saving tips for travel.

2. Revisit your budget

Making decisions for your MO Cafeteria plan or health care plan might impact your budget. Take some time to revisit your monthly budget and find out how close you are to meeting your monthly goals, finding out whether you should cut back, or looking to see where you need to reallocate resources.

3. Revisit your worst-case scenario

Most MOSERS benefit-eligible employees have basic life insurance*, but have you taken some time to look at your Optional Life Insurance? Our fall PensionsPlus article covers the basics.
Additionally, you may want to go over your estate planning documents! These plans can cover anything from your social media accounts to who will handle the benefits for any minor survivors you’ve listed as beneficiaries. You may feel a sense of relief once these tasks are out of the way!

4. Re-evaluate your retirement plan

Although you may not be prepping for your golden years yet, you may want to take a peek at your savings strategy. Are you taking full advantage of your deferred compensation plan? Have you considered consolidating your retirement savings into one account?
Maybe you just want to dream about the future and get a benefit estimate. Log in to the secure Member Homepage, click Estimates and then Estimate Your Retirement Benefit.

*MOSERS’ life insurance is not available to employees of the Department of Conservation or state regional colleges/universities (except State Technical College of Missouri & Lincoln University), because those employers provide their own life insurance benefits.

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The post from April 27, 2005 describes an increase in the monthly benefit for years worked after age 65. Do these increases “count against” the 65% ‘Cap’ on the minimum 4% increases for those workers hired prior to August 28, 1997?
Note: the post referenced is here.

Yes, all COLAs accrued count towards the 65% cap for eligible members of the MSEP.

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Lifetime Retirement Benefit

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Is the retirement benefit for a lifetime? Had heard that you would only receive the benefit for 20 years.
Yes--once you meet retirement eligibility, your MOSERS retirement is a lifetime benefit based on your final average pay and credited service. MOSERS is a defined benefit plan, which provides a set benefit for life once you meet the age and service requirements for retirement. If you aren’t sure what retirement eligibility is for your plan, see the Which Plan Am I In? section of our website. More information can be found in our retirement handbooks. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/10

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From The Modesto Bee: Missouri benefits expanded to same-sex spouses

Missouri's main health care and retirement plans are expanding benefits to same-sex spouses following a court ruling requiring the state to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere.

The decisions about state benefits come as Republican legislative leaders on Thursday continued to criticize Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster for not aggressively defending the state's constitutional prohibition of gay marriage.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled last Friday that Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states or countries — the first ruling to put a dent in the state's constitutional ban. Koster announced Monday that he won't appeal, stating that "Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."

From Plansponsor: Report Warns Against Moving N.J. Public Workers to DC Plan

A new report claims closing New Jersey’s defined benefit retirement plan for public employees and offering a defined contribution plan instead would be costly and would not solve the underfunding problem.

In “How to Dig an Even Deeper Pension Hole,” published by the New Jersey Policy Perspective, Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center, says phasing out the state’s traditional pension plans and replacing them with 401(k)-type accounts would burden taxpayers with transition costs currently estimated at $42 billion and fail to reduce the state’s unfunded pension liability. In addition, moving employees from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans has failed in three states that have tried it and was rejected by 13 other states after research concluded that the change would hurt taxpayers and pension recipients, the report observes.

From MarketWatch: What a strong dollar means for retirees

The U.S. dollar has been getting stronger relative to other currencies recently. The dollar has risen steadily for over 11 weeks and that’s the longest winning streak for the dollar since our currency became free-floating in 1973.

From Time Money: Why I Want a Real Retirement, And You Should Too

Looking forward to retirement seems irrational these days. Rising life expectancies and the increasing funding problems for Social Security and private pension plans have led to the recommendation that we defer retirement past the traditional age of 65—perhaps into our 70s and beyond. It’s getting to the point where many in my generation have started to assume that they might never retire at all.

It’s true that delaying retirement into your 70s will likely improve your financial situation. Yet in an age when work has come to permeate most of our waking hours, it seems even more important to delineate at least a decade when you’re still healthy enough to both reap the benefits of that hard work and devote your time to other pursuits. And yet the concept of a real retirement has come to symbolize financial irresponsibility or laziness or both.

From CBS Money Watch: Why so many workers retire earlier than planned

Half or more of all U.S. workers retire earlier than they had planned. The Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reports that nearly one out of two -- 49 percent -- of retirees left the workforce earlier than they had planned. That finding is consistent with a recent report from Merrill Lynch/Age Wave that reports more than half -- three out of five -- retirees say they retired earlier than they had expected.

The reasons for these earlier retirements reflect the range of events and circumstances that people experience in their later years. The EBRI survey reports both positive and negative reasons for people retiring earlier than planned. On the positive side, 26 percent said they were able to afford an earlier retirement, and 19 percent just wanted to do something else.

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Buy-Out Option

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Is there a buy out option on my Missouri State Pension?
We answered a similar Rumor Central question back in August, which you can view here: http://mosersrc.blogspot.com/2014/08/early-payouts.html

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Debunked: Changes to Your Benefit Calculation

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Rumor has it that our benfit calculation will be changed to eliminate the number of years of services into the formula. Can you tell me if this is truth?
That rumor is false. The formula that MOSERS uses to calculate retirement benefits (which for general state employees is: final average pay x credited service x multiplier = monthly benefit) is defined by law. There was no legislation passed during the most recent legislative session  regarding a change to the formula. We reported in our 2014 Legislative Update the changes that were made. We are not aware of any proposals to change the formula in 2015.

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Missouri Auditor's Report on Public Pensions

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How did MOSERS fare in the recent Missouri Auditor's report on public pensions?
MOSERS is financially sound and our members can count on the benefits we administer now and in the future.

An important point to note about the auditor’s report is that it discusses the funding and performance of 89 Missouri public employee defined benefit plans as a whole. It does not rank the individual plans, but it does identify plans that are on a “watch list” that will be monitored closely in the future. MOSERS is not on the watch list.

One reason that MOSERS is financially sound is that the state of Missouri makes its annual required contribution (ARC) to MOSERS consistently and on time, as recommended by our actuaries.  See our key facts regarding funding of MOSERS. Because of this, MOSERS is not among the 34 plans referenced in the report that did not receive 100% of their ARC in 2012.

Another reason MOSERS is doing better than many pension plans is the majority of our funding comes from investment returns, rather than taxpayers. See why we are Not Your Average Pension Fund.

The data from the report was current as of 2012, when many public pension plans were still recovering from the effects of the recession. MOSERS’s investment performance currently and consistently outperforms its benchmark. This outperformance is the product of a prudent investment strategy that produces returns which add substantial value to the fund over time, as outlined in the final row of the table below. For instance, over a 20 year time frame, MOSERS' investment program has added $2.1 billion in value to the fund compared to a similar portfolio invested passively in the broad markets.

Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System
Investment Performance Summary (net of all fees and expenses)
As of June 30, 2014

 1 Year 3 Year  5 Year  10 Year  15 Year  20 Year 
  MOSERS   19.2% 10.4% 13.2%  8.6%  7.2%  9.4% 
  Policy Benchmark  17.7% 8.8%  12.2%  7.3%  5.5%  8.2% 
  Value Added  1.5%  1.6%  1.0% 1.3%  1.7%  1.2% 
  Value Added in Dollars   $117 M  $417 M  $432 M  $1.2 B  $2.6 B  $2.1 B 

Through a history of reasonable benefit levels, mandatory participation, consistent employer contributions, and professionally managed investments, MOSERS continues to be very viable in all respects.

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What does MOSERS' funding level mean for you?

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An article in the Springfield News Leader on Sunday discussed state public employee pension funds and their "funded percentage." It stated that it was desirable for pension funds to be funded at an 80% or higher level. It stated that the MOSERS fund was currently funded at 73%. Could you explain this shortfall and how it might affect my future pension income? Thanks!
The keys to successful retirement system financing are independent actuarial valuations, the employer’s commitment to contributing at rates recommend by the actuary, and a sound investment program. MOSERS has all three of those characteristics and is thus positioned to weather storms like the credit crisis that impacted all investors in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009.  Over time, we have been smoothing in the losses sustained that year and that has resulted in the appearance of a declining funded ratio. Now that we are through with phasing in those losses, the system is experiencing increasing funded status.  For example, as of June 30, 2014, the funded ratio was 75% based on smoothed asset values and almost 80% funded based on the market value of assets. While there are impressions about the importance of being at least 80% funded, it is not nearly as important as the board’s and the state’s commitment to assuming that the system remains adequately funded as mentioned at the outset.  The state has always fully funded the required contribution as calculated by the system's actuary. The shortfall you referenced will not have any impact on your future pension income.

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MOSERS & Marriage

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I am fortunate to be single and I wonder what happens to my pension if I do get married after retirement. If I marry before retirement, will my spouse have a bigger pension if I die or does it make any difference at all? Many future retirees would like to know this answer.
The benefit payment options available to you at retirement depend on which plan you belong to and if you are married or single at retirement. If you aren’t sure which plan you belong to, check the Which Plan Am I In? section of MOSERS’ website. If married at retirement, you will have five benefit payment options to choose from; if single, you will have three (except for members of the Judicial Plan prior to 1/1/2011*). The joint & survivor options are available only if married.  See page 13 of the Retirement Guide or the Benefit Payment Options Summary on p. 17 of the PreRetirement Planning Reference Book for more information about benefit payment options. Regardless of the option you elect, you will receive a benefit payment each month for as long as you live.**

In general, once the first retirement benefit payment has been issued by MOSERS, you can’t change the benefit payment option you elected at retirement. One exception is if you are single at retirement and choose the life income annuity payment option but later marry. If this happens, you may change your payment option to one of the joint and survivor options if you make this election within one year from marriage. The new spouse must be designated as your beneficiary by submitting a Designation of New Spouse as Beneficiary for Retirement Benefits form to MOSERS.

If you marry and die before retirement, your surviving spouse would be eligible for a survivor benefit. The monthly benefit for your spouse will be based on the benefit you have accrued as of your date of death and calculated according to the Joint & 100% Survivor Option. The survivor benefit will be payable for the remainder of your spouse’s life. If there is no survivor spouse, 80% of your monthly base benefit will be paid to your natural or legally adopted child(ren) who are younger than age 21. If there are no dependent children, no survivor benefit will be paid.

If you marry and die after retirement, your surviving spouse would be eligible for a survivor benefit based on the election you made upon retirement, e.g., 50% Joint &Survivor or 100% Joint & Survivor.   

*Different provisions apply to judges who were members of the Judicial Plan prior to January 1, 2011.  Please see your Judge’s Retirement Handbook for more information.
**Unless you return to work in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position or forfeit your pension benefits due to felony conduct in connection with your duties as a state employee. 

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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/3/14

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From Columbia Daily Tribune: City Pensions

State Auditor Tom Schweich found, as of 2012, Columbia fire and police pension funding strength fragile enough to warrant placement on a “watch list.” In recent years the city has taken notice, raising contributions and counting on improved pension fund earnings, but according to projections it will take until 2032 to bring the ratio of assets up to 80 percent of the present value of future retirement benefits, as recommended for healthy systems.

The Great Recession hit pension fund earnings and squeezed local revenue, reducing local police and fire pension fund ratios to 53 percent in 2011 and causing city officials to dip into the general fund to bolster the plans. As the new fiscal year begins, the funded ratio stands at 55 percent. It will be a long slog to reach 80 percent.

From St. Louis Business Journal: Missouri pension funds above national averages

Missouri's public employee retirement plans are faring better than others nationwide, although some plans are raising concerns, according to a new state audit released Tuesday.

Auditor Tom Schweich said that by and large, Missouri's pensions are better managed than those across the nation, but "there are still definitely some land mines out there, as far as future pension benefits go," the News Tribune reports.

From Chicago Tribune: How young people should save for retirement

How much do you need to save for retirement?

It's the million-dollar question that never has a precise answer, especially for young people who have decades to go before retiring. But plenty of researchers and financial advisers try to provide some guidance, even for those just starting out.

From Investopedia: Retirement Abroad: 5 Unexpected Foreign Cities

Retiring abroad has appeal: You get a change of scenery (maybe even someplace exotic), the chance to live in a different culture and, in many cases, a lower cost of living. Combine these with the proven link between travel and healthy aging – travel delivers physical, cognitive and social benefits – and the case for spending at least some of your retirement abroad becomes even stronger. See Retirement Travel: Good And Good For You.

Once you've made the decision, though, it can be a challenge to decide where to move. Some of the more well-known destinations include Costa Rica, Thailand and Spain, but there are plenty of other lesser-known – sometimes surprising – spots worth considering. In addition to scenery, culture and activities, we also looked at medical care. You don't want your new home to be that over-the-top exotic. Here are five destinations that should top your relocation research list.

From The Washington Post: The anti-retirement plan: Working 9-to-5 past 65

Paul Hyman doesn’t much care for golf or beach resorts. He doesn’t have a boat and isn’t any good at painting.

Hyman, 74, isn’t into many of the things the friends his age say they like doing in retirement. The things that are important to him – social connections, friends, new challenges – he gets at work. So the partner at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, a food and drug law firm based in Washington, says he isn’t retiring, at least not for now.

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