Ever-diminishing benefits causing rash of retirements

Many state and local governments are seeing a “flood of retirements,” due in part to a fear that retirement benefits will continue to diminish, according to this story in The New York Times.

The star of the Times story is Wisconsin. But Minnesota, Colorado and New Jersey are identified as three states that have both increased employee pension contributions and reduced the automatic cost-of-living adjustment on benefits.

Dave Bergstrom, who runs the Minnesota State Retirement System, told us that Minnesota is seeing a big increase in new state employee retirements. Bergstrom said 3,250 retirees were added to the rolls between Dec. 1, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2011 — about 1,000 more than retired during the same period last year.

But Bergstrom attributes that increase to early retirement incentives and the fact that baby boomers are reaching retirement age — not to the changes in benefits.

If you’re a state employee, we’d like to hear what you’re seeing. Are people retiring in your department? Are you considering it yourself? Why? Share your experiences here or in the comments.

  • MR

    I am nowhere near eligible for retirement, but we saw quite a few just before the shutdown, because it was unclear how the shutdown would affect pension amounts. We are also losing people who had retired and come back on the post-retirement option because we don’t have the money to keep them, even half-time.

  • kennedy

    Is encouraging retirement the same thing as “job creating”?

  • John O.

    Several individuals in our division retired prior to July 1. After it became clear a budget impasse and shutdown was likely, most of these folks had been eligible to retire for years (in some cases). They submitted their final paperwork and cleaned out their desks.

    In the few cases where the position is being filled, the new hire is usually coming in at a lower pay grade, compared to their predecessor.

  • tboom

    If anybody is still reading this post, I’d like opinions on how PERAs 1992 (I believe) switch from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution” is/will affect retirement choices.