People shouldn’t expect pensions to be main source of retirement income

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dear Editor,

Just a few comments about the letter the young lady had printed in last weekend’s edition of The Advocate-Messenger about the condition of the Kentucky Pension Fund.

Yes, I agree that this should be remedied soon. Just look at the condition of the state of Illinois and their pension system. Also the state of New York had major issues with the “Teachers Union Pension Fund” several years ago, as well as all state employees and their fund. They were simply going broke and the major reason was the payout of pensions.

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We knew personally a local teacher and a person who worked directly for the State of New York and both of these gentlemen retired early at 55 years of age with 20 or more years of service and they drew/are drawing 80 percent of their salary since they retired.

Stop and think about this … pension funds should never be able to pay out that kind of money. This is one reason pension funds are going broke, plus people are living longer, so they are going to be drawing longer.

I personally worked for 47 years in the away-from-home towel and tissue industry (paper manufacturing/converting operations). When I started in the business there were not any 401K plans, they simply allowed you to purchase company stock with no broker fees and of course they had a pension plan.

Yes, I began to purchase company stock and as I was promoted etc. my pension did offer increases that would allow me to draw more money when I retired. After spending 31 years with two companies (same building), one company bought out the other; the stock was simply transferred into the new company so I didn’t lose anything.

Here is the breakdown now that I am retired; Social Security accounts for about 52 percent of our income, pensions account for about 26 percent of our income and self-invested income accounts for around 22 percent (our IRAs, an annuity we purchased, etc.)

The main point is people cannot expect that when they retire they are going to get 80 percent of their income from a pension plan. You have to prepare, plan ahead and invest to help yourself.

Now, the mishandling of pension fund money such as borrowing from these funds, etc., is of course a different story and should be addressed.

Fred Cummings

Junction City