Letter: In defense of PERA
In reading Joshua Sharf’s guest opinion regarding Colorado PERA, one could almost assume that PERA is woefully behind the times, much to the detriment of members and non-members alike.
As a Colorado PERA member for 20-plus years, I can attest such an assumption would be false. PERA is not simply an organization that handles money, investments and pensions. PERA is made up of each individual employee, who themselves along with their PERA-covered employer, contribute a percentage of their wage toward their own future retirement.
There is a fiduciary element that is taken very seriously by the executive director and each investment manager. This careful handling of the pension is supported by various studies, which were initiated in 2014 and 2015 by the state Legislature and the governor’s office. Third-party independent, national firms were hired to assess plan efficiency, feasibility of long-term actuarial projections and cost-efficiency of the pension.
The independent studies showed PERA’s plan provided the highest benefit for the lowest cost of any alternate plan, hence providing a more solid retirement income for every PERA retiree.
Mr. Sharf asks “What if those returns fail to materialize?”
While no investment is immune to market fluctuations, PERA is constantly, I would say daily, striving to minimize any possible downturn in investment and benefits. Every year PERA reports on the overall health and benefit liabilities of the plan to the Colorado General Assembly. PERA administrators, employers and members understand we are in this for the long haul, toward a solid retirement benefit, for both current and future retirees.
For my money, I trusted PERA 20 years ago and I still trust PERA today. No qualms about it.
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