Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Inside Colorado PERA

Nearly 1,700 People Respond to Reader Survey

retirement security
photo credit: monkeybusinessimages – 1287395025 – GettyImages

Over the past few weeks, 1,659 PERA On The Issues readers responded to our reader survey. Your feedback is critical as we look to keep you informed about the subjects you find important.

Below we’ve shared a few results from the survey and what we plan to do in response. We’ll share additional updates in the future.


Survey result

  • 88% of respondents said that the current newsletter frequency (every two weeks) is ideal
  • 93% said the length of a typical story is just right
  • 89% said story complexity is just right
What we heard

Readers like the form of the current website and newsletter.

What we’ll do
  • We will continue sending a newsletter every two weeks.
  • We will continue publishing stories that take no more than a few minutes to read.
  • A number or readers indicated they would like to see a summary at the top of each story. We will incorporate that idea whenever practical.

Survey result

Question: How important is each the following topics? Average rating (out of 10)
-Stories about legislation 9.1
-Stories that explain the policies and concepts found at PERA 8.0
-Stories that recap PERA Board meetings 7.3
-Stories about insights, research, and reminders related to personal finance and retirement planning 7.2
-Stories about the people and processes behind PERA 6.7
What we heard

Legislative updates remain the top area of interest for PERA On The Issues readers. On the whole, readers are highly curious about understanding more about how PERA functions.

What we’ll do
  • We will continue delivering as many legislative updates and details as practical.
  • Because Colorado’s legislative session only lasts about four months out of the year, we will look to fill out the calendar with stories that align with other reader interests.
  • A number of people indicated they would like to learn more about PERA’s investment program. We will keep this in mind as we plan our editorial lineup.

Other takeaways

  • We’d like to find opportunities to talk with PERA members and retirees as we put stories together. More than 100 people said they’d be interested in talking with us.
  • We’ve heard from a few readers that they’d prefer a logo with the site’s name spelled out. Be on the lookout for a logo refresh soon.
  • More than 27% of readers said they don’t follow PERA on social media but that they would consider it. You can get started now by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
  • About 40% said they’d like to see more charts and graphics in stories. We will find opportunities to bring more visuals to our stories.

Comments

  1. G M Santo says:

    Great! Retirees are suffering and PERA Board & Staff (PERA B.S.) are worried about a new logo…?!

    How about the symbol for carbon-monoxide that Colorado introduced and retired for the state’s logo, between our two most recent governors? That little green snow-capped mountain of a triangle with the letters “C O” on it implied high altitude poisonous gas (or air pollution) exists, and truly represents what the legislature’s been doing to PERA members, i.e., suffocating us!

    • A Bell says:

      I am sad to see this is an inappropriate and mean-spirited comment.

      It has been a difficult year, and we all could use more hope, encouragement, and gratitude to deal with difficulties and frustrations in life.

      • G M SANTO (I'm just as bored as you are to bother reading these comments) says:

        I’m disgusted by Pollyannish platitudes, when after decades of state service we (many retirees) are robbed of tens of thousands of dollars in benefits, under a bogus line of “shared sacrifice.”

        I can think of few things more mean spirited than being robbed, other than being told to look on the bright side afterwards (you’re not dead…yet?). Please, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and I trust you get a sense of how I regard your empty moralizing.

      • S Bell says:

        Hear Hear, A Bell!!! Thank you for that.

  2. JEANNE C FUCHS says:

    Why so angry? It’s the Colorado taxpayer who is supporting us now, paying our pension and making our health care options so desirable. Surely your own contribution to Pera ran out a long time ago. Give a thought to the men and women whose pay check deduction keeps you in funds.

    • G Craun says:

      Agree with J Fuchs. It doesn’t take long to use up personal contributions, then we are on the taxpayer’s dime. I am grateful for PERA, allowed me to retire from an absolutely horrible job. Thank you.

    • G M SANTO says:

      FUCHS’ OFF … BASE COMMENT RIDICULOUS!

      Again, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but not facts. First, I’m not as angry, as I’m disappointed that state legislators reneged on a contract; Second, if the state can do that to their own employees, then they can do that to anyone (including the “Colorado taxpayer”); Third, the only people being taxed unfairly are PERA members who have been paying a stealth tax in lost COLAs and foregone wage increases (taxpayers received services when the state paid us our wages, and they got a great deal too!).

      Additionally, my contributions to PERA have not been paid back by any stretch of the imagination! One might understand that, if they actually knew the value of labor, the lower wages accepted in government employment in exchange for a “decent” retirement, and the opportunity costs of not working elsewhere and the returns on investments made by entities other than PERA (I hardly view PERA’s investment performance as anything but mediocre).

      In closing, I am mad about a couple of things though, i.e., public education and PERA Board & Staff (based on the comment by Fuch – up, above) have failed the ilk of Fuch, in articulating and publicizing how the PERA promise (is suppose to) work to the advantage of workers, retirees, and taxpayers all!

    • Evelyn Clinton says:

      PERA pensions were an earned employee benefit as part of their compensation package in part to provide balance for wages that were below the public sector. When the State did a system wide review of positions and wages around 1990, the gap was an even bigger disparity than annual salary surveys had indicated. Over any 30 year period, lack of funding had been used repeatedly to support a variety of methods intended to suppress wages, not fill vacant positions, delay overdue promotions, raise work standards to unattainable levels, and deny deserved performance bonuses. Pensions too have seen a variety of methods intended to suppress payments. When PERA was overfunded, the legislature swiftly intervened to the detriment of the members. These practices represent negotiations conducted in bad faith. Resentments and lack of faith are understandable as promises are continually loop holed away. Thankfully, the work was rewarding . I applaud all those who continued to do their job to the best of their ability regardless of such adverse actions.

      • G M SANTO says:

        REMEMBER THE “STEP & GRADE” PAY CHART? REMEMBER GOOD GOVERNMENT?

        Yes, Evelyn – Your comments are right-on! Do you remember the 99 Levels by 7 steps pay matrix used to compensate workers by grade and seniority (making one seek a promotion at least every seven years or start looking for a job elsewhere if one ever wanted another raise besides a COLA, which itself was often delayed due to a “pay freezes”). A bunch of buzz words and the phrase, “Total Compensation,” were first thrown around then to dispense with the pay matrix; to be replaced by a promise that future raises would be based on “performance,” using total quality management (?) and other buzz words and procedures; but those raises never came! I remember the state’s Total Compensation Committee (TAC) revealing data used to compare state employee pay to the private sector, was BASED ON 5 YEAR OLD DATA! It was at that time the state personal department threw us a bone and started using data that was only 3 years old. I’m not making this up, I was elected to the TAC, and saw the state merit system systematically begin being destroyed (and that was under a so-called Democratic governor!).

        Additionally, PERA in paying retirement based on the last three (or four or five) of highest years’ salaries, has been forced to pay political hacks huge retirements for getting state jobs under the “Senior Executive Service (SES).” SES, as you may know, was/is a scam to side-step merit based hiring for hundreds of state jobs and exceed pay above the old “99-rate” (which was only supposed to be surpassed for medical doctors, engineers, and other hard to fill positions). The only Republican administration in the last quarter century started abusing SES positions with a vengeance (literally to try to undue prior Democratic policies, but also purge workers hired under merit systems during Democratic governors, in order to shrink government and try to replace the state workforce with cronies). Unfortunately, the Democrats have learned how to abuse the state personnel system just as well as the Republicans, and now it’s common practice for the legislature to raid PERA to reward their friends and/or fund their pet projects instead of giving workers their COLAs!

        Retirees who mumble about how grateful they are for what they do get from PERA make me ill; and should sicken every taxpayer who deserves competent state employees providing government services instead of political hacks operating broken computer systems and failing to answer their phones; and both the state merit system and PERA need to be reformed (back into what they were supposed to be in the first place)!

  3. G M SANTO (Who wants PERA B.S. to explain itself, but NOT look for new logos) says:

    FUCHS’ OFF … BASE COMMENT RIDICULOUS!

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but not facts. First, I’m not as angry, as disappointed that state legislators reneged on a contract (with respect to Annual Increases over the years); Second, if the state can do that to their own employees, then they can do that to anyone (including “Colorado taxpayers”); Third, the only people being taxed unfairly are PERA members who have been paying a stealth tax in lost COLAs and foregone wage increases (taxpayers received services when the state paid us our wages, and they got a great deal too!).

    Additionally, my contributions to PERA haven’t been paid back by any stretch of the imagination! One might understand that, if they actually knew the value of labor, the lower wages accepted in government employment in exchange for a “decent” retirement, and the opportunity costs of not working elsewhere and the returns on investments made by entities other than PERA (I hardly view PERA’s investment performance as anything but mediocre).

    In closing, I am mad about some things, i.e., public education and PERA Board & Staff (PERA B.S.), based on the comment by Fuchs – up, above, having failed her ilk, and the taxpayer, in articulating and publicizing how the PERA promise (is suppose to) work to the advantage of workers, retirees, and all taxpayers and voters (like PERA members)!

    • Doug Morton says:

      Add the fact we deal with the windfall elimination and health care costs that are ever increasing. I am grateful for what we have but it is truly short of what we were supposed to get. Your comments are well written!

    • J. A. Goehl says:

      Once again, G.M. Santos is spot on!

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