Friday, February 24, 2012

WORTH READING - Sandy Asper writes the real story of teachers' pensions.

This comes out of a paper from Newport Beach, CA...doesn't matter the state, the teachers are always seen as "the bad guys" when it comes to pension talk.

Opinion: Pension Smenshion 101
Original source and article, click link

Can I just tell you how tired I am of hearing about teachers' pensions at parties, while shopping (I have to start shopping faster) and reading about it in the newspaper and magazines?

Teachers make an adequate pension. They don't make a fabulous pension, and they don't get the full benefit until they have worked about 30 years with a master's degree. Teaching for 30 years is an amazing accomplishment and is usually rewarded with a pin or something in a hot library or cafeteria at the end of the year.

Teachers do not teach for the pension.

Five years ago, no one had his/her back up regarding teachers' pensions. It's only been in the last two years of Wall Street and the banks betrayal that the bitterness about teachers' retirement has crept boldly into the conversation. Before that, and before teachers ran around with a target on their backs because blaming Wall Street was too complicated, no one complained about educators' retirement. It's very different now.

You are going to have to trust me on this; they don't teach to get the pension.

Just a couple of facts:
  • When you hear about educators making a huge retirement THEY ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT TEACHERS (check out administrators retirement).
  • OC retired educators receive an average of $50,079 a year.
  • Teachers pay 8 percent of their monthly pay into pensions.
  • Employers contribute 8.2 percent.
  • The State contributes a little more than 2 percent (it was 4.7 percent, but was reduced 10 years ago saving the state over $3,000,000,000).
  • Retirement is based on age, years of service, and final pay. It is not based on the higher percentages that you often hear about.
  • Most retirees do not receive their own nor their spouse's Social Security benefits.
  • Most retired teachers do not receive any employer health care.
  • Teachers who spend eight years in the classroom only receive their own contributions (many teachers today are likely to work 10 years or less).
  • Teachers must work 27 years to receive benefits that equal 62 percent of their working income.
The Human Face
I have a friend who is a 76-year-old retired teacher. She retired a while ago and her pension is a whopping $2,180.96 a month. She pays around $400 a month for her insurance on top of what she pays for Medicare which is about $150. This was almost fine a few years ago, so she substituted for five years to make it fine.

The last few years she has been in ill health and not able to work. Things became so bad that she established a reverse mortgage and that has helped a little. She is lucky enough to be able to participate in the district's health insurance at $399.16 a month which does not include vision and dental coverage.

She cannot receive social security. Her drugs are expensive even with Medicare and the district's insurance.

This is what she doesn't do: go to the movies, drive much, go out to dinner, buy many clothes, or take trips. She taught for over 30 years, and during that time watched her money carefully.
This is not an unusual story, so lay off the teacher pension talk.

Just Sayin'

Written by: Sandy Asper

Original source and article, click link

Come Join Me...

Tate Publishing and Enterprises
The Lord gave the Word; great was the company of those that published it.”
-Psalm 68:11

Lisa Tortorello's Book Signing Event

~You are invited to attend a book signing ~

Where: The Coffee Beanery
         425 Joliet St. #221
     Dyer, IN 46311
When:  March 3, 2012
Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Please join Me  
If you already have a copy of My Hero, My Ding, bring it along and I'll sign it for you, or buy another for a friend – this book makes a great gift!
We hope to see you there!

Can’t make the event? Order your autographed copy today by using the links at the side panel of this blog. 

You can always order directly from the Tate Publishing Bookstore by clicking here .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And the WINNER is...

Maplewood from the Maplewood Block Forum!

You are the winner of an autographed copy of
My Hero, My Ding!

Thanks to all who participated!  See ya at the next Give Away!

Monday, February 13, 2012

What "dating" meant in the 1940's

~Boy have times changed~

I want to take you back to a time shortly before the United States got involved in WWII.  My grandparents met, and my grandfather was courting my grandmother. 

As Grandpa used to tell it,  when he would call on Grandma for a date, that "date" always consisted of three people...Grandpa, Grandma and a chaperone (usually my great-grandmother).  After "dating" for awhile, they realized that wedding bells were in their future.

So, that year on Valentine's Day my grandparents got engaged! 
It was also that year on Valentine's Day my grandparents were able to go out on a date... alone.

They were married 50 years!

With Valentine's Day just a wake-up away and
in honor of my grandparents, love, and being married for 22 years to my wonderful husband,
I am giving away an autographed copy of
My Hero, My  Ding to a lucky winner! 

To enter, simply send an email to
In the Subject line type: Valentine

A winner will be picked at random on February 15th.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Pension Fact Reminders- Worth reading again!

The Chicago Teacher's Union is in negotiations (if that's what it could be called with the Board of Education) about the upcoming teachers' contract.  Pension is being brought up, which is no surprise since the picture being painted is how the hard workers who have paid into their pension lo these many years are the ones bankrupting the city and state.  Since contracts for fire, police, and teachers are all up this year, I thought I'd re-print an excellent article that explains facts about the pensions in Illinois - how it is NOT bankrupt, and won't be in the next 10- 15 years.  Every time our government officials want to give us the shaft with their verbal spin, we need to remind them of some facts.

Originally printed in October 2011...

Story Image
Dick Ingram

Throughout Illinois, public pension systems have been a central topic of discussion for months as state government grapples with an uncertain economy.

State legislators and organized labor continue to discuss the future of these pension systems as well as their anticipated costs to both taxpayers and members of the pension plans (who also are taxpayers).
This discussion is vitally important for the state’s future fiscal health and will be most useful if based on facts and not hyperbole. Here are some truths to remember:

Illinois’ pension systems are not bankrupt. It is true that the systems together have accumulated a total debt of roughly $140 billion but now only have about $53 billion in assets. That leaves the systems with an unfunded liability of $87 billion.

However, that total debt never has to be paid off at one point in time. It is composed of money owed to retired workers as well as active public employees at some time in the future. Because employees cannot collect until they retire, the only amount that the systems must pay each year is that owed to retirees.

Much like the pension systems, families with mortgages carry a large amount of debt, and it is safe to say that most families could not pay off their mortgages all at one time. That is an unfunded liability.
But like the pension systems, these families don’t have to pay off the mortgage all at once. They only have to pay a monthly installment. Like the pension systems, these families are in debt, but they are not bankrupt.

Illinois’ pension systems will not run out of money and default in 10 or 15 years. The best example is the Teachers’ Retirement System, the state’s largest public pension plan with more than 372,000 members.

In fiscal 2010, TRS paid out $3.9 billion in pensions and benefits. Total revenue in the same year from teachers, school districts, state government and investments was $6.8 billion. TRS currently has $37 billion in total assets.

With a 30-year average investment return of 9.3 percent, TRS continues to exceed its long-term investment targets. These returns along with continued member and state contributions ensure that TRS will have enough money to meet our annual obligations for decades. TRS has carried an unfunded liability since at least 1953 and has never missed a pension check to anyone.

Pension benefits locked in place by the Illinois Constitution are not the main reason the systems carry unfunded liabilities. TRS members do not participate in Social Security, and their average pension is relatively modest. They pay more than half of the cost of their pension benefits.

The current cost of these benefits to the state pale in comparison to the amount of money that the state has failed to contribute to the pension systems — and that comprises more than two-thirds of the money budgeted for pensions.

In the case of TRS, since 1970 the state has left unpaid more than $14 billion of its share of current pension costs. This is the main reason for the system’s unfunded liability. Under actuarial “full funding” standards, the state should have contributed $33.2 billion to TRS between 1970 and 2010. Instead, TRS received $18.6 billion.

That unpaid $14.6 billion was not available for investment by TRS to further bolster the retirement fund. When you consider that TRS has earned an average of 9.3 percent annually on its investments since 1980, the lost income is significant.

In contrast with the state failing to contribute its share, the contribution by TRS members from their paychecks increased by 135 percent since 1980 and is now 9.4 percent of their pay.

The annual cost of pensions is not bankrupting state government. Let’s look at expenditures in fiscal 2010, when the total state budget was $56.9 billion.

Of that total, all social service programs — including health care for the poor, child protection and public health — cost $17.5 billion. Medicaid alone cost $9.8 billion. The bill for public education, from kindergarten through university, was $13.7 billion. Salaries for state employees came to $3.6 billion.

By comparison, the pension benefits paid out to state retirees in fiscal 2010 totaled $6.9 billion. The state’s contribution for these benefits was $4 billion.

Pension benefits paid to retired public employees are a return on an investment. Each dollar is recycled through the economy as retirees spend money as they did when they were receiving a salary. Combined, state government salaries and state pensions during 2010 translated into a $24.5 billion economic stimulus for Illinois.

Dick Ingram is executive director of the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System.

Click Here for original story.