It's long past time to raise the COLA base for Melrose retirees. The current base of $12000 has been in place for over fifteen years. Over 85% of communities have raised their base to $14000, and some have gone to a $16000 base.
What would be the impact? The retirement Board votes yearly what the COLA will be for retirees. The board almost always votes for a 3% COLA. Calculated from a $12000 base, that works out to $360 a year. Raising the base to $14000 would mean a $60 increase.
If Melrose can afford $5,000,000.00 for a "learning commons" and "a pot of money" for school administrator raises, it can certainly afford $60 a year for it's retirees. I believe the average pension for a Melrose retiree is around $28000 a year. Could you live on that?
What's a pension?
Is that supposed to be funny? It's not. When you work 30 years for a city and then that city nickels and dimes you while throwing millions of dollars at a dysfunctional school system it's upsetting. A $28000 pension nets you about around $375 a week. Do you pay the mortgage, utilities, for medication, or do you buy food? Tell me what's funny about that, a$$hole.
How about the Aldermen who take our tax money for their family's health insurance?
Margolis, Tramontozzi, Peter M for life?
What about past BOA members? Who among them are getting GIC for life?
Another Retiree; I may be an a$$hole but you still get $28,000 more than I do from a former employer. Also, who ever said that a pension should be your sole source of retirement income?.
Oh, you mean like Social Security? Well guess what, genius - most Melrose retirees are not eligible for SS benefits since they don't contribute to SS. That crappy pension is all they have.
Snarky, I'm talking about things like savings, ira's, investments, spouses, Did you expect to retire at age 52 after 30 years on a pension only. If so, you had the wrong financial planner.
I don't get posters like Mel, who are perfectly willing to begrudge these retirees a lousy $60 a year COLA increase, but stay totally silent when our very own Boss Tweed dumps untold millions of taxpayer dollars into the catastrophe they laughingly call a school system, or scams the living crap out of all of us with water and sewer bills, or hands out health care for life to Aldermen to buy enough votes so he can get a pay raise, and all with little or no accountability, and not even a hint of conscience.
Mel, are you joking? You cannot seriously think that a paltry city paycheck allows any hope of savings, IRA's, or investments. I guess you could call a wife an "asset" of sorts, but you'd need three or four of them to make any appreciable difference.
It's also clear you have no clue how city pensions are calculated. If a cop or firefighter (Group 4) retired at 52 after 30 years, he or she would get 66% gross or about 44% net. And before you start with "What about all the details and overtime they made?", none of that - zero - counts towards a pension calculation. Excluding teachers, anyone else, or Group 1, like DPW, would get 38.4% gross or 26.8% net at age 52 after 30 years. Teachers, who are in the state system, would get between 36% and 48% gross, or between 25% and 33.5% net at 30/52. No one in their right mind would consider retiring at 52 and expect to be able to live on that, and wouldn't need a financial planner to realize it.
Shorter in Melrose,
I could see all municipalities going to 401k's over the next few years. Grandfathering in anyone who is currently in the system. I think that is a fair way to handle this situation. As for the original poster, you should have planned better financially. Mel is right
Right. He should have known that the politicians would deliberately underfund the city's pension obligation. He should have anticipated the health care crisis. He should have known that the city would be dumping so much money into a dysfunctional school system. And he should have realized all these things over thirty years ago. Really? Did you?
I know they're not 'soothsayers', but aren't financial planners supposed to factor in worst case scenarios into their planning?
The fact is that most "financial planners" did not anticipate any of this either. Besides, any Tom Dick and Harry can hang a shingle and call themselves a "financial planner." Some of them know what they're doing, but the majority are just winging it and collecting their fees, and some of them are outright crooks.
What was the topic of this string? We're talking about giving the retirees $60.00 a year. Melrose is one of the few municipalities that hasn't done that already. I guess they've been too busy stealing from us through the water and sewer billing, and buying votes by pretending to do something about the disgrace called Melrose Public Schools. Doing away with the Alderman's health care for life (and let's call that what it really was - a bribe so they'd pass the Mayor's pay raise) would easily cover the $24,000.00 it would cost.
I can't disagree with anything you've said!
Then think about this - the COLA is historically 3% of $12000. For a pension of $30000.00, that's 1.2%. Raising the base to $14000 would mean an increase of .2% or a total of 1.4%. Below is the inflation chart since 2000:
2017 2.50% 2.74% 2.38% 2.20% 1.87% 1.63% NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
2016 1.37% 1.02% 0.85% 1.13% 1.02% 1.01% 0.84% 1.06% 1.46% 1.64% 1.69% 2.07%
2015 -0.09% -0.03% -0.07% -0.20% -0.04% 0.12% 0.17% 0.20% -0.04% 0.17% 0.50% 0.73%
2014 1.58% 1.13% 1.51% 1.95% 2.13% 2.07% 1.99% 1.70% 1.66% 1.66% 1.32% 0.76%
2013 1.59% 1.98% 1.47% 1.06% 1.36% 1.75% 1.96% 1.52% 1.18% 0.96% 1.24% 1.50%
2012 2.93% 2.87% 2.65% 2.30% 1.70% 1.66% 1.41% 1.69% 1.99% 2.16% 1.76% 1.74%
2011 1.63% 2.11% 2.68% 3.16% 3.57% 3.56% 3.63% 3.77% 3.87% 3.53% 3.39% 2.96%
2010 2.63% 2.14% 2.31% 2.24% 2.02% 1.05% 1.24% 1.15% 1.14% 1.17% 1.14% 1.50%
2009 0.03% 0.24% -0.38% -0.74% -1.28% -1.43% -2.10% -1.48% -1.29% -0.18% 1.84% 2.72%
2008 4.28% 4.03% 3.98% 3.94% 4.18% 5.02% 5.60% 5.37% 4.94% 3.66% 1.07% 0.09%
2007 2.08% 2.42% 2.78% 2.57% 2.69% 2.69% 2.36% 1.97% 2.76% 3.54% 4.31% 4.08%
2006 3.99% 3.60% 3.36% 3.55% 4.17% 4.32% 4.15% 3.82% 2.06% 1.31% 1.97% 2.54%
2005 2.97% 3.01% 3.15% 3.51% 2.80% 2.53% 3.17% 3.64% 4.69% 4.35% 3.46% 3.42%
2004 1.93% 1.69% 1.74% 2.29% 3.05% 3.27% 2.99% 2.65% 2.54% 3.19% 3.52% 3.26%
2003 2.60% 2.98% 3.02% 2.22% 2.06% 2.11% 2.11% 2.16% 2.32% 2.04% 1.77% 1.88%
2002 1.14% 1.14% 1.48% 1.64% 1.18% 1.07% 1.46% 1.80% 1.51% 2.03% 2.20% 2.38%
2001 3.73% 3.53% 2.92% 3.27% 3.62% 3.25% 2.72% 2.72% 2.65% 2.13% 1.90% 1.55%
2000 2.74% 3.22% 3.76% 3.07% 3.19% 3.73% 3.66% 3.41% 3.45% 3.45% 3.45% 3.39%
You don't need to be an accountant to see how far retirees have fallen behind the inflation curve since 2000, and I confess, I did not know that was the case.
Forget raising the base to $14,000.00. Scrap the base entirely. Award COLA on the full pension amount based on the CPI, the same way Social Security and the VA do.
Limiting the COLA to only the first $12,000 guarantees a retiree will fall further and further behind, even if the COLA percentage exactly matches to CPI. It's an archaic way of computing a COLA that might have been workable 30 or 35 years ago when pensions were much smaller and prices so much lower, but it's totally inappropriate today. I agree it should be done away with and COLAs calculated off the CPI. That's not perfect either, but it's a lot better way to do it.
I wish the city would be more caring to the MPD. The MPD salary is not a lot of money. It is when they do details and that dont count in the pension. So the mayor should do more to help the police dept. by remoldeling the old run down police station. That has been the same since I was a kid. Hope everyone is respecting the police they are here to help us. Black lives matters group should protest without violent words being said.
Knowledgeable Resident? Not even close. Teachers are in a totally different retirement system, you blithering jackwagon. If teachers want to work over the summer break and pay into Social Security from those wages, then they would be eligible for SS if they accumulate enough quarters to qualify, but even then they'd get screwed by WEP and GPO. Do you know what those are or do I have to explain them to you too?
I repeat - most Melrose retirees, those in the City of Melrose retirement system, are not eligible for SS since they don't pay into it. There are a handful who accumulated enough quarters before or after working for the city who can qualify, but most do not.
So what's your next fake fact going to be - that you know some Melrose retirees that are on Medicare so they must be SS eligible?? Wrong. Under the ten year rule, if your spouse is SS eligible and you have been or were married for ten years or longer you are forced by state law to give up your city health plan and go on Medicare under his/her SS number even if you don't qualify on your own, and it's Medicare only. You get no other benefit - you're screwed again.
Here's a piece of advice for you - it's far better to be thought an ignorant a$$hole than to do what you just did - open your mouth and confirm it. Typical Melrose holier than thou jerk - perfectly willing to shoot off your fat mouth without having even the slightest idea what you're talking about, and your ignorance, jealousy, and pettiness are now on full display for all to see.
Perhaps it wasn't clear who I was addressing that to. It was to the person that posted this drivel: "Stop complaining and work in the dreaded private sector - if you think that you are getting screwed! The problem then is - you will have to do some work and be always concerned you may be laid off! Take your plush job and appreciate all the benefits you get!"
I went to an Ivy League college with the best business school in the country back in the eighties, Most of my closest friends went into finance, accounting, business management, etc. I decided to become a teacher. I was told by a variety of people that it was a mistake- why would I waste an Ivy League education to teach? I heard lots of good-natured teasing about how I should at least teach at a private school so I could someday teach my friends' kids. I was thoughtful about my decision, weighing the pros and cons, and I ultimately decided that teaching was my calling. I knew the financial ramifications of that decision. I knew that I would have to pay into the retirement fund, and that I would not have control over that portion of my retirement money (I hated the idea of some government agency deciding the fate of my money, but that is part of the deal). I knew that I would have to also save for retirement outside of the pension fund in order to be prepared down the road. Many of my peers graduated in the early nineties and entered the workforce with six-figure starting salaries. I started out making about $30000 a year. I dutifully joined the union (I hate the union, but I have no choice. It is also part of the deal). I have paid into the retirement fund at 11% for 22 years, and I have saved an additional 11% every year in an IRA. I never begrudged my college friends who easily made 4 times my salary for those first 5-8 years in the workforce. They chose their profession and I chose mine. I knew I would never be rich in this profession, but I make a great living doing something I love. I feel that I am well-compensated for my work. When the economy took a downturn, I was surprised by the anger some of my friends had about my "cushy" pension. When they lost money in their 401ks (Gues what? I did too.), suddenly everything about my pension was unfair. But there was nothing wrong with my "paltry" pension when they were making tons of money with no end in sight.
I will work till 65 before I can even think about retirement, and that is what I expected. I will retire with a pension (provided they don't screw me, which I suspect is a distinct possibility). I don't feel bad about this. It was part of my choice. You make choices, and then you live with them. It sounds like somebody on this thread does not like the choices he made, so he is mad at others who made different choices, and he begrudges retirees who planned for retirement thinking they would get a reasonable cost of living increase, only to find this may not be the case.
Question - I assume you are in the teacher's (state) system. Who decides what COLA you get? For us, it's voted on each year by the Retirement Board at City Hall. In every year since I retired, they have voted a 3% COLA on a $12000 base. Is it the same for you?
Yup - they called us idiots for taking public sector jobs with paltry salaries and crappy pensions. Strange how their tune has changed, isn't it?
This post is about the COLA. That's it. Nothing else. Yet you come on here and lambaste retirees for being stupid. Maybe you had no trouble doing all that on your private sector salary. Try doing it on a public sector salary.
Why do you begrudge retirees a lousy $60 a year? That's not even enough to play a round of golf at Mt. Hood.
Correct. I saw a news piece yesterday that said it is voted on as part of the state budget, which was just done.
As former military, my COLA is tied to the CPI. I'm hoping for a COLA this year of 1.7%. The difference is there is no base. My increase will be 1.7% of my current compensation.
The rate tends to be different every year, since it's tied to CPI, but let's just compare this year. A $30,000.00 federal check would gain 1.7%, or $510.00. On the other hand, a city pension of $30,000.00 would gain 3% of the first $12,000.00, or $360.00.
The city system might have been appropriate in 1917, but it should have been done away with years ago and tied to CPI. You'd have to give 3% of a $17,000.00 base to equalize, and why go through all that when you could simply tie to CPI? The local board would still have to vote on it every year in any case.
Wow! Almost three hours since you posted, and so far not one person has posted about what a bloodsucker you are. Maybe no one realizes that you were a public employee also. Thank you for your service.