Public employee retirement systems could face shortfalls as retirees outnumber workers

Governments will need to make up a funding gap caused by investment losses, inadequate contributions

Mar 14, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

By Bloomberg News

For those worried about the ability of U.S. state and local governments to cover promised pension checks, the Census Bureau announced a milestone that should add to their fears: by 2030, for the first time, senior citizens will outnumber children.

In 12 years, about one in five Americans will be of retirement age, and by 2035, those 65 and older will outnumber those under 18 by about 2 million, according to the latest estimates released by the agency. The consequences are wide-ranging, from the solvency of Social Security to increased health care costs for an aging population.

The swelling ranks of retirees from public service, such as police officers and teachers, will also present a strain on state and local government retirement systems that have about $1.6 trillion less than what they need to cover the benefits workers are counting on.

That shortfall is the result of investment losses, overly aggressive investment forecasts, inadequate contributions and perks granted in boom times. Governments will need to pay more into the funds to make up that gap, putting a squeeze on their budgets that could imperil their bond ratings and diminish services for residents.

After the recession, American governments laid off workers and cut back on hiring, leaving fewer paying in to retirement systems as the number of retirees grows. The ratio of active workers to those receiving benefits has dropped to 1.42 from 2.43 in 2002, according to a survey of the largest public pensions conducted by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.

Fully funded plans would have enough assets to cover the projected payouts. But for plans already facing gaps, the burden to pay for the benefits for current and future retirees will be even higher.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

Featured video

INTV

Why broker-dealers are on a roll

Deputy editor Bob Hordt and senior columnist Bruce Kelly discuss last year's bounce-back for IBDs.

Latest news & opinion

SEC advice rule may give RIAs leg up over broker-dealers

Experts say advisers will be able to point to their role as fiduciaries as a differentiator in the advice market.

Brokers accept proposed SEC rule on who can call themselves an adviser

Some say the rule will clear up investor confusion, but others say the SEC didn't go far enough.

SEC advice rule: Here's what you need to know

We sifted through the nearly 1,000-page proposal and picked out some of the most important points.

Cadaret Grant acquired by private-equity-backed Atria

75-year-old owner Arthur Grant positions the IBD for the 'next 33 years.'

SEC advice rule seeks to tighten reins on brokers

The proposed rule puts new restrictions on brokers, but it is still unclear how strongly the SEC is clamping down.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print