Public pensions are mixing risky investments

More than 20 million Americans are covered by state and local government pensions. Unlike the 401(k) plans found in the private sector, these “defined benefit” plans promise to pay retirees a set amount of money every month for the rest of their lives.

For most public workers, these generous programs are a cornerstone of their financial security; for many, they’re one of the main attractions of government jobs. Yet the plans, by their own reckoning, are underfunded to the tune of $1.6 trillion.

Unfunded Employee Benefit Liabilities as of 6-30-23

In order for the Town to understand the value of future pension benefit payments, actuarial
valuations are performed each year for the pension plans. The CalPERS actuary estimates the
payments that will be made for all potential retirees from each plan in each future year. The
actuary calculates the present value of future benefits the plan will be required to pay to its
current participants: those still working who will retire in the future, retirees, and those who
have terminated employment but have not yet begun drawing benefits.

The 2022 valuation reports provide the determination of the minimum required employer
contributions for fiscal year (FY) 2024/25. In addition, the reports also contain important
information regarding the current financial status of the plans as well as projections and risk
measures to aid in planning for the future