State pensions for public workers in Florida could be boosted under new legislation
After a decades-long attempt to steer workers away from the traditional pension plan offered by the Florida Retirement System (FRS), one proposal has emerged to make it more attractive to workers, and another would allow a group of workers who had opted out of the plan to rejoin it. A bipartisan proposal in the Florida Senate restores a 3% annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) denied to new hires beginning in 2011. A second proposal would allow those who had left the pension plan when the state started a 401k-style retirement option in 2003 and switch back to the traditional pension, or "defined benefit" plan. Read More
US Public Pension Plans Ended 2023 at Funding High
As markets rallied during November and December, so did the funded status of the 100 largest U.S. public pension funds, which ended 2023 at their highest point of the year, 78.2%. The market rebound helped spur a combined $349 billion increase in funding. The aggregate funded level of the plans rose to that 78.2% figure from 75.9% at the end of November and 72.4% at the end of October. Read More
Millennials Are The Most Likely Of All Generations To Experience Financial Hardships And Money Troubles, According To Survey
A National Institute on Retirement Security study revealed that two-thirds (66.2%) of working millennials have no retirement savings. This issue is more pronounced among millennial Latinos, with 83% having no retirement savings. The study also noted that only 5% of working millennials are saving adequately for retirement based on financial expert recommendations. Read More
The City of Fort Lauderdale is the sponsor of the Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System. All Fort Lauderdale sworn police officers and firefighters are eligible to participate in the plan. A seven-member Board of Trustees, who are either elected by the employees or appointed by the Mayor, administer the pension plan. The plan is a defined benefit plan that promises to pay a guaranteed benefit at retirement.
- 679 – Active members
- 1,292 – Retired members and beneficiaries
- 1,971 – TOTAL PLAN PARTICIPANTS
FUNDING Public safety officers contribute 10% of earnings into the pension plan. Members also pay 7.65% of earnings into Social Security and Medicare. Additional revenue to the pension plan comes from the State of Florida insurance premium tax, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and earnings generated on the invested assets. The plan’s investment returns provide 40% of the plan’s funding. Over the past 32 years, the plan had an average total return of 8.2% – greater than the assumed 7.2% rate of return.
BENEFITS Retirement benefits are based on (1) average final earnings, (2) years of service, and (3) a benefit formula. Public safety officers can retire after 20 years of creditable service (or after 10 years at age 55). Overtime and unused leave do not increase retirement benefits. After 20 years of service, public safety officers are eligible to receive a retirement benefit equaling 60% of their monthly earnings. Retirement benefits are not automatically adjusted annually for cost – of – living changes. Retirees have not received a COLA since 2001.
DISABILITY Service-related disability benefits provided by the plan cannot exceed 65% of current monthly earnings. Non-service benefits cannot exceed 50% of monthly earnings, with reductions for Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, or other earned income. The Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System was established by City Ordinance and became effective January 3, 1973. As of 9-30-2021, the pension fund assets totaled $1.1 billion.
For more information, see the Annual Report Newsletter