Chart: How Did Kentucky’s Pension System Become So Underfunded?

KY systems funding

Here’s a chart of the funding situations of Kentucky’s largest public pension funds as of 2012. At 27 percent funded, the KERS non-hazardous fund was considered among the unhealthiest in the country. Since 2012, its funding ratio has dipped even further. But the entire system is experiencing big shortfalls.

How did they get this way? Pension360 covered earlier today the system’s lackluster investment performance — but the state’s funding shortfall has been influence by a confluence of factors.

KY shortfall breakdownOne of the largest reasons for the shortfall is the state failing to make its actuarially-required payments into the system:

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Chart credits: Pew Charitable Trusts

Video: Fixing the Kentucky Retirement Systems

Watch the above video for an in-depth discussion on the problems and politics surrounding the Kentucky Retirement Systems and potential solutions to the funding woes that plague the system, in particular the “non-hazardous” portion of the system.

The interviewee is Jim Carroll, who runs the Facebook group Kentucky Government Retirees and has taken an active role in raising awareness among citizens and pushing lawmakers for change.

As Carroll points out in the video: “There aren’t any good answers to this [funding shortfall].”

There are, however, options to improve the system’s health – although none are particularly pleasant.

The KERS non-hazardous plan is among the unhealthiest in the country. The system is only 23 percent funded and is one market downturn away from complete insolvency.