Once upon a time, a person could find a job in corporate America, work it for 30 years, and find a comfortable retirement. Those days are gone.
I could tell you endless stories of those I personally know betrayed by companies which found legal ways to break promises made to retirees. The story always ends with, well they did it, it is legal and there is nothing you can do about it.
It happens late in life when the benefits are most needed. The cruel reality is there is nothing you can do. I recall a family member saying to me, "If only I had known this could happen." Like most, he trusted his retirement would be there as promised.
Yes, when it comes to retirement, a government job is the most secure. What does most secure mean?
Did you ever think what would happen if your government retirement just stopped?
Every now and then, you will have an experience that, like a lighting strike, will command your attention.
Last Saturday I had such an experience. I listened to Dale Folwell, CPA, a candidate for North Carolina treasurer, speak on the posture of funding for state retiree pension and healthcare. When it comes to elections, the office of North Carolina State treasurer was about as far off my radar as is possible.
Do you know who the current one is, and do you care? Well, if you are counting on retirement benefits, or are already retired from the State of North Carolina, you better care. That is, if you do not want to be one of those people that say, "if only I had known this could happen."
The state employee health plan is nearly thirty billion dollars underwater and, growing. It will require approximately three billion dollars per year in funding for 15 years. That is right billions, with a "B." This equates to approximately 15 percent of the budget. At its current rate, it is not sustainable.
If this is the first time you are hearing about this, ask yourself why that is. More importantly how do we get out of it? I was not paying attention to who the North Carolina treasurer was or is, but I am now.
Dale Folwell is a Certified Public Accountant. My research shows he has a long-standing reputation for attacking and solving problems. What he shared on the state retiree funding was just one of the subjects he covered. I will be writing more on the office and function of the North Carolina State Treasurer.
For now, know this, workload indicators for North Carolina State retiree's healthcare fund presents as an unfunded liability.
Simply stated, all core functions of state government, like education, roads, and healthcare will be negatively impacted as these bills come due.
These problems are estimable, probable, but solvable if we stop kicking the can down the road.