TRS board of trustee member, Bob Lyons (right).
Illinois teachers mainly rely on their Teacher Retirement System pensions for income in their retirement years.
As I constantly remind people, we get no Social Security if we have always worked as a teacher. Our benefits are severely reduced if we are career changers, like me.
We are prevented by federal law from receiving any Social Security spousal benefits.
I constantly remind people of this because each time I do, somebody in the crowd will express surprise.
The Illinois Teacher Retirement System released the results of their investment returns the other day.
My friend Bob Lyons, who is one of the annuitant (us retired folks) representatives on the TRS board of trustees, sent out the following:
The accounting team sent me what I believe will be the final performance returns for fiscal year 2015. I am passing these along as there was some meaningful uplift in numbers since the preliminary discussion at the August meeting. Relative to peers, the final data has pushed TRS into the top quartile over all time periods (the consultant notes that it is a pretty small peer group for the 30 year observation with only 18 funds reporting data for that long of a time period).
Returns for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015 are as follows:
The long term numbers are especially significant when you consider those legislators that try to attribute our unfunded status to poor investment returns
Bob’s last point is an important one.
While I have problems with the lack of transparency involving those who manage our investments – which at one time included our current governor – the returns on our investments have never been the problem.
“The problem” being that we are somewhere around 60% underfunded
The underfunding of TRS and other state pensions is the result of our elected officials spending our money elsewhere, failing to meet their payment obligations for decades and decades.
If we lived in a different, humane and saner system, older retired people would not have to pay attention to investment returns or worry about the flavor of cat food.
Whether the stock market went up or down might be of interest to those retirees who liked to gamble.
I do. Vegas is fun for a weekend.
But I don’t like gambling with all my retirement savings.
Wall Street investments are Vegas on steroids.
A humane system would have a government that guaranteed every older person a retirement with financial security and without fear.
There are countries in the world that do that. Most countries in the industrialized world do that.
For the present, it looks like our returns are doing pretty well.
Imagine what our retirement fund would look like if TRS could have received those investment returns on all the money the politicians owed us.