Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

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Retirement Roundup: Colorado Faces Years of Budget Cuts

2019 legislative wrap-up
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A digest of news from publications around the nation about finance, investing, and retirement.

Colorado’s Government Braces For Up To 3 Years Of Cuts | CPR

Colorado may face three years of reduced revenue in a worst-case-scenario projection. In response, state government offices have been asked to trim millions from their 2020 budgets. Departments have been asked to review all spending decisions, suspend hiring for all non-critical positions, and delay new contracts and programs, if possible.

Your Money And Coronavirus: A Financial Protection Guide | Forbes

Student loan repayment help, stimulus checks, mortgage relief, aid for small businesses: The array of financial challenges and remedies you’ve been hearing lately about can be tough to keep straight. Forbes has created a helpful page that organizes this glut of information, so you can find what you need quickly.

Money Shame Surfaces in Tough Times | Squared Away Blog

Money is an emotional topic, and many people are reluctant to talk about it. At a time when financial uncertainties are a source of anxiety for millions of people, experts recommend talking openly about it. You don’t need to share every detail of your financial life in order to discover that your concerns are shared by many others. The sense that you are not alone can be a powerful antidote to the feelings of shame and anxiety that money-related worries can bring.

What we know about the fourth coronavirus relief bill | Vox

The CARES Act is barely a few weeks old, yet legislators are already talking about a fourth major piece of legislation to address the health and economic implications of COVID-19. The details of previous bills evolved as the rapid-pace negotiations progressed. Subsequent legislation is likely to take a similar path. This article suggests that a fourth bill is likely to be similar to the third, with primary components consisting of: expanded unemployment insurance, hazard pay for essential workers, expanded health care access, and additional direct payments to Americans.

Comments

  1. TBA says:

    PERACARE SUCKS !! I can’t even begin to receive the healthcare I need.

    • GM Santo says:

      PERAcare doesn’t even suck… if it did that, we at least could use it as a ventilator…PERA Board & Staff (PERA B.S.) apparently negotiate pre-Medicare and defined contribution / deferred compensation plans (VOYA) based on something other than “value.” I can only hope the moderator posts my comments (since I pay his or her salary) and spares me any response!

  2. Douglas knuffke says:

    So basically no raise for us retirees for the next 3 years? That seems par for the course.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Douglas. PERA is not considered a state department and does not operate under the state’s budget. All eligible PERA retirees will be receiving an annual increase this July.

    • GM Santo says:

      Mr. Knuffke Is Basically Correct! The increase of 1.25% scheduled this year COVERS THREE YEARS… and that will be the last one in our life times because PERA Board & Staff sold us out to Governor Hickenlooper under 2018’s SB-200!

  3. Gordon Kaufman says:

    I greatly appreciate the variety of information in this important email. I would encourage continued information on an appropriate time schedule (once a quarter, bi-monthly, or even monthly).

    Keep up the good work for the benefit of our PERA members and for the benefit of our state.

  4. J McGannon says:

    To the entitlement attituders that want all at any cost, I APPRECIATE the benefits I have with PERA and feel damn lucky to have ANY benefits during times like we see now and what’s to come. Thank you PERA staff for all your efforts!

  5. J McGannon says:

    In addition, given the times we are going to face with our pension plan, regardless of whether we are legally entitled, we should forego the annual increase and keep the funds solvent!

  6. kim creadick says:

    I agree with no annual increase to keep us solvent.

  7. Doreen Cannon says:

    I remember we were supposed to get a three and a half percent cost of living raise a year after retirement! That didn’t last long and through various political shenanigans, we are lucky to get a 1.25% raise. But given the current situation, we are luckier than most of the people in the world to have PERA! I’m only hoping they don’t For how much longer I don’t know but I am starting to hoard every penny I can and cutting my monthly expenses to the bare bone. I hope my monthly amount is not cut… I’m on the low end of the food chain, certainly not one of the retirees with a six-figure income from my pension! If the situation comes to that, please start with the cream on top who can better afford a lowered paycheck.I lose my Pera benefit, I would not have enough Social Security to survive. So that means I need to have enough money in the bank to live on less than $1,000 a month. I truly hope that this doesn’t turn out to be like the ventilator allotment in some hospitals, where only those that may survive are given the chance to survive. I’d rather forfeit my 1.25% ($400/yr) to keep PERA solvent.

  8. Jonah J says:

    To balance the long bill, our legislators are looking at the following before the end of the session which was just extended until after memorial day:

    1. Not paying the 225 million one time payment to help the unfunded liability
    2. Reducing the employee “benefit” paid by employers of AED and SAED. AED and SAED almost entirely pay to catch up the unfunded liability and were supposed to be temporary.
    3. Shifting a portion of the employer portion of benefits paid to PERA to the employee
    4. Pausing the employer and employee increase required by SB-200

    Employees are currently paying the entire portion of the cost of their retirement package while employers are trying to make a dent in the unfunded liability. Newer employees are receiving less and less benefits and are required to work longer to pay for retirees and those about to retire. We need a more sustainable solution . Employers and PERA continue to get a pass on the backs of employees and retirees.

  9. Chuck G says:

    My wife is a retired 33 year special ed teacher, with her COLA frozen for 2 years and reduced for July 2020 like everyone else.

    I told her 2 years ago, also 2 months ago that SB18-200 agreed funding by Colorado is conditional (like old Indian treaties) and is not worth the toilet paper written on, virus or not – i.e. any future budget issues and the money is gone. I told her she should have earned her pension benefits in other State that is rock solid honorable and prioritizes and protects its retirees.

    Colorado will now recreate 2 problems (PERA & credit rating) to fix another. With 90% of the new budget still available as well as loans from the Federal Reserve now available as I understand, Colorado (including Colorado Supreme Court of 2014) still refuses to honor and prioritize its commitments to PERA. Vulnerable retirees will suffer in years to come with no opportunity for a career do over, and without legal or lobbying advocates it seems. Pension funding & benefits due current retirees should be the same priority as payroll owed for active employees for services already rendered (e.g. front of the line in bankruptcy). These rights should have been carved into the Colorado State Constitution long ago, including a fair COLA formula ! A pension without a fair COLA protection is not worth much. Anything less is theft in my mind.

    Ask PERA Questions:

    So with one or two legs of the SB18-200 stool about to be wacked, is PERA prepared to fight for SB18-200, against any funding cuts and for the priority of earned benefits of current PERA retirees ?

    If the State does breach the SB18-200 contract/law, its seems like the other provisions of this law should be null and void. Retirees should go back pre-SB18-200, a 2% COLA, right? When a contract is breached its breached and can no longer function, the auto adjust will be broken, correct? Why would the other parties to this law be lesser than the State in importance and rights and still be legally bound to the terms under this breached law ?

    Will PERA quickly inform current members that the State of Colorado is not honorable and cannot be trusted?
    That retirees need to understand that COLAs are going away, regardless of future inflation (unlike Social Security) ?
    That PERACare will forever be worthless as an unaffordable choice for most ?
    That PERA benefits are at perpetual risk, retirees are screwed and should be relying on prayers ?

    BTW – Social Security beneficiaries always get their PCI COLAs, even if the FED has to tax or print money. My wife has no Social Security benefits, not even survivor benefits.

    PERA comments please ? Can the new Director address these issues for scared retirees ?

    Sincerely

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