Let's Talk

April 12, 2017

Gregory W. SmithThere is no doubt PERA exists in a competitive, ever-changing environment. Over the years, we have demonstrated the value of providing sustainable and secure retirements to our members in partnership with our employers, while strengthening the Colorado economy as well.

To ensure we are resilient and built for future generations of Colorado public employees, I invite you to join me in a conversation we’ll be having with a variety of stakeholders beginning in late May. Why are we seeking input on this topic? It’s to begin a dialogue about PERA’s funded status and corresponding risk profile.

In recognition of the changing economy and the fact that PERA members are living longer in retirement, the PERA Board of Trustees recently made adjustments to the long-term investment rate of return and to the mortality tables (see page 4), both of which are used to calculate the time that it will take to reach full funding. 

There is always a lot of discussion about what PERA’s investments can earn and a lower projected rate of return means that PERA is projected to have slightly less money in the bank in the future. 

In addition, PERA members are living longer in retirement, which is good news, but it also means that PERA will be paying more in benefits over time.

This doesn’t mean that the reform legislation enacted in 2010 isn’t working­—it is. But the reality is the length of time it will take to reach full funding has exceeded the Board’s goal of 30 years.

The time to engage others and seek feedback about PERA’s future is now, rather than when we are in crisis. PERA is projected to pay benefits in perpetuity making the situation now different than what we experienced after the Great Recession when the trusts were projected to run out of money in a 
few decades.

So look for details on our community outreach tour, a statewide conversation happening in person and online. There is nothing more important than providing a sustainable and dignified retirement for our membership and I invite you to share your thoughts on how we can achieve and maintain this goal together.

Share your thoughts with me in the interim at GregSmithMail@copera.org