A critical question for current and future PERS retirees and the state of Mississippi is this: Can PERS continue to pay its retiree obligations, its generous and growing COLA (13thcheck) and also rebuild its corpus to be there for the current employees who will be retiring in the decades to come?
Like most pension funds, the PERS plan pays a fee to investment managers to help the plan realize maximum earnings potential. Since 2009, PERS has paid more than $647 million in fees to outside money managers. Comparing PERS of Mississippi with three of its neighbors, the amount paid to the plan’s money managers has been on the increase over the decade.
Every two years, the actuaries for Mississippi’s defined benefit pension system release a report that examines the economic and demographic outlooks that underpin the financial planning. The newest one was released last month and the actuaries make some interesting recommendations for the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS).
Imagine being able to vote yourself better retirement benefits while you’re a beneficiary of a retirement plan. That’s the scenario in Mississippi if the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi follows an opinion from the office of Attorney General Jim Hood and changes its present regulation. This would allow legislators and other statewide officials who are also PERS retirees to keep collecting their benefits while in office.
Mississippi’s pension system for state, county and municipal employees is slowly gaining fiscal ground, but it’s not fast enough to keep up with the coming demographic landslide of retirements.
When people normally think of a COLA, they think of a refreshing, bubbly and sweet beverage that goes great with a hamburger and fries. But in the world of public pensions, COLA is only sweet for the retiree. The overly generous and unsustainable COLA (cost of living adjustment) is one of the key factors on why the Public Employees’ Retirement System or PERS continues to struggle financially.