CalPERS votes in favor of rate hikes

Retirees are living longer—and that’s bad news for the many pension funds that are already suffocating under the weight of their unfunded liabilities.

But one of the world’s largest pension funds has taken a step to counteract the soaring expenses that accompany longer life spans: the CalPERS board voted today to incorporate retirees’ longer lives into the formula used to determine taxpayer contributions to their fund.

The result will be higher contribution rates to the fund by the state and local governments of California; the state, starting July 1, will be expected to contribute $5 billion over three years to the fund, an increase from $3.8 billion previously.

Local governments will not see their contribution rates increase until 2016, in an effort curb some stress on the state’s cities, some of which are going through bankruptcy proceedings.

The CalPERS board took into account projections that by 2028, men are expected to live 2.1 years longer and women an average of 1.6 years longer. Such an increase, if not addressed, would lead to the state’s pension expenses ballooning by $1.2 billion, or 32%, annually.

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