State of Pensions 2021

Link: https://equable.org/state-of-pensions-2021/

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Link to PDF report:https://equable.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Equable-Institute_State-of-Pensions-2021_Final.pdf

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State retirement systems in America improved from last year, but are still Fragile. 

This an annual report on the current status of statewide public pension systems, put into a historic context. State and local governments face a wide range of challenges in general – and some of the largest are growing and unpredictable pension costs. The scale and effects of these challenges are best understood by considering the multi-decade financial trends and funding policy decisions that have brought public sector retirement systems to this moment. 

The financial market volatility over the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic has ultimately been a positive investment climate for institutional investors like state pension plans. And the federal government has provided substantial financial aid to states and municipalities, smoothing over what could have been seismic budgetary shortfalls in some jurisdictions due to tax revenue declines. The combined historically unprecedented nature of these events continues to create an unpredictable environment for state pension plans. However, in this report Equable uses patterns of behavior from the past two decades as a guide to what might happen in the coming decade while also a means to identify areas of concern that should be monitored closely or acted upon immediately.

Authors: Anthony Randazzo, Jonathan Moody, PhD

Publication Date: Accessed 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Equable Institute

Stock Market Helps State Pension Debt Hit 10-Year Low, But Crisis Still Looms Large

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfarmer/2021/09/23/stock-market-helps-state-pension-debt-hit-10-year-low-but-crisis-still-looms-large/

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After state pension debt grew to more than $1.4 trillion last year, two new reports estimate that gap between the total amount states have promised to retirees and what they’ve actually set aside in their pension investment funds will shrink dramatically. A recent analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts says the gap could dip below $1 trillion this year. And a report released today by the Equable Institute estimates that 2021 returns will shrink state pension debt to $1.08 trillion.

The gains in the stock market played a big role. Equable’s report calculates that preliminary 2021 investment returns averaged an astounding 20.7% return. That’s nearly triple the average assumed rate of return in any given year. Those gains will boost the average pension plan to about 80% funded, the highest funding ratio since 2008.

Author(s): Liz Farmer

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Forbes