Monday, November 18, 2013

Healthy Government Retirement Plan

Government based retirement plans are sometime in the news, and rarely in a good light. So here is some good news! Since 2008 the retirement plan run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) has grown its assets by over 75%. That works out to an average of 15% per year for that period.

The reason this is important is that more than half of our operating expense for a park system is the cost of people (employees). And a significant percentage of the cost of a full time employee is the contribution that the organization provides to that retirement plan each year to offset a future withdraws someday when that employee is retired.

Here are some facts that help to explain why this plan is healthy while others are still trying to recover from the hit in value that resulted from the recession:

  • NVRPA employees contribute 5% of there pre-tax income to the plan.
  • There is an actuary study done on the plan every year to determine what the contribution should be. This is essentially an outside audit of our assets and obligations, and how they balance out over time.
  • The plan Trustees have worked to diversify the range of investments working with our third party plan advisers.
  • Several times during the worst days of the recession (2009 - 2010) the NVRPA Board wisely invested additional funds after extensive study to shore up the plan. These investments when the value of stocks was low may prove to be one of the best long-term financial decisions made by the Board.
The financial health of any organization has a direct and powerful affect on the ability of that organization to achieve its mission. So if you appreciate open space, natural resources protection, history, and fabulous destination parks, you need to also support the financial health and vitality of park systems like NVRPA.


Alex Rodgers said...

So what kind of advisors would you suggest that I work with? I currently work with, and granted they do seem to help me quite a bit, I’d still like some more input on who you or any of the other listeners would suggest.

Paul Gilbert said...

We use Segal Advisors. They specialize in advising retirement plans. They also do not sell their own investments, so the advice you get is more objective.