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Pension News

Report: Public pensions flagging financially in three Southeastern states

A new report says state public pension systems in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina are struggling financially and need reforms to avoid taxpayer bailouts or riskier investments. Regionally, South Carolina is in the worst position with a funding ratio of only 58.3%. Its unfunded liabilities would gobble up 9.21% of the Palmetto State's gross domestic product. Most of the Southeastern states have well-funded pension systems, led by Tennessee (97.4% funding ratio), followed by North Carolina (84.1%), Florida (82.2%), Georgia (72.3%) and Louisiana (71.5%). Read More

The history of Social Security: Reverting back to program’s roots eliminates benefits

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs, including Social Security, were enacted to help bring the country out of the economic depths of that time. Speaking of that original Social Security law, many readers tell me that we should take Social Security “back to its roots.” They think too many “goodies” have been tacked on to the program over the years and that we’d be better off with “good old-fashioned original Social Security.” I always tell these folks that if they really mean they want only the original Social Security law, then all we would have are retirement benefits for people 65 and older who were totally retired. That’s it. Editor’s Note: The article details the changes in benefits and provides a timeline of the amendments to the Social Security law from 1935-1983, the last amendment. Read More

Half of Americans lack access to a retirement plan. Here are the worst states.

Fewer than half of American workers qualify for a retirement plan through their job. But that lack of access is markedly worse in some states, which researchers warn could face a spike in senior poverty as a result. About 69 million workers, or 56% of the nation's workforce, lack access to a retirement plan through their workplace, the Economic Innovation Group found in its analysis of 2021 Census data. The share is highest in Florida, where almost 7 in 10 workers are unable to put money away in an employer-sponsored plan, and lowest in Iowa, where it is about 4 in 10. Read More

Quick Facts


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

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