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April 1, 2011     Post-Gazette
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April 1, 2011

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 1,2011 rr00J with Ben Doherty /J by Sal Giarratani " A PENSION PLANS UNDERFUNDED DESPITE ROSY FORECASTS THIS YEAR In Florida the retirement system, one of the nation's best, is yielding only 87.9% of the amount needed as- suming that investments will return 7.75% going for- ward. Assuming 6% gains the official $16.7 billion would have to more than triple to 852.7 billion and the funding ratio would fall to 69%. Florida's pension re- turned 2.6% annual over the past 10 years, but 9.6% over the past 30 years. The report also explains what it would mean for state and local gov- ernment budgets, and tax- payers would have to dig in their pockets. The govern- ment would have to set aside an extra 3.4% of payroll each year or about 8900 million. Plugging a hole more than three times bigger would require an extra 15.2% of payroll to the pension fund or $4.2 billion, more than double the normal 12% con- tribution. For pension funds, return assumptions and the discount rate are one in the same and therein lies the problem. They may have to ,prefund future predictable pension liabilities with Tips (Treasury protected securi- ties}. They now yield 2% Treasury Protected Pension Funds discount rates are to high even if you are wildly optimistic about the stock market. Public liabilities are greatly underestimating public liabilities by assum- ing strong investment re- turns and borrowing money to invest in the stock mar- ket. A 2000 previous study put the gap @ 8500 billion based on the states own as- sumptions. But Rory Marx and Northeastern University should use a 5-6% rate tied to a discount rate, a high quality municipal bond in- dex likely 5-6%. The board of the California Retirement Systems this month voted to reject its chief accountants call to trim its return as- sumption from 7.75% to 7.5%, they are also worried about further pressure al- ready strapping local govern- ments. Fitch has said it will factor in a 7% discount rate. Governor Scot wants 401(k) plans for new public employ- ees, and to require current staff to contribute 5% of pay- roll to their pensions. Stocks settled for minor gains Friday after giving up most of their gains. The NASDAQ inched up .2% as it reclaimed but barely held above its 50 day moving averages. The S&P500 and the NYSE added .3% and 1% respectively. The volume was down about 5% on both exchanges. The indexes scored their 1st positive week since early March but the gains didn't look that impressive from a distance. After peaking on February 18 the indexes spun its wheels. The only good day was a triple bewitching day, a discourag- ing divergence. Two of every three stocks were thinly traded not the preferred leadership one expects. A slew of top-rated stocks at- tracted big trades on healthy price gains early, raising hopes and either the volume or the gains faded as the ses- sion progressed. For ex- ample, Caterpillar attracted volume. For the week, Friday's action raised and then dashed hopes. Among the top 200 stocks, leisure and retail related stocks showed positive strength while financial and gold min- ing stocks were weak. For the week, the NASDAQ rose 3.8%. The S&P500 rose 2.7% and the NYSE was up 2.5%. The economic news on Fri- day was light but encourag- ing. Several stocks will report this week as Tibco Software will report quarterly results. Mosac also will re- port. Canada's opposition party led by the liberals joined in a non-confidence vote on the conservative party in power since 2006. The general election in May will bring Steve Harpers con- servator group some more power. Goldman Sacs fell in its rankings on recent charges that an ex-director leaked information to in- dicted Fund Manager Raj Rajaratnam, the stock fell 1% on the news. The Uni- versity of Michigan's senti- ment index, it was 67.8% after being down to 68.2% in mid March. The first since November 2009, amid slug- gish hiring, higher food prices, and lower wages. The Atlantic Federal Chief, Dennis Lockhart said the Central Bank faces a "high bar" after its 8600 billion bond buying program, the Fed will have to tightened in the near future to avoid inflation. It's time to call your financial advisor or call me at 617-261-7777. Project Bread's Walk for Hunger The Kickoff breakfast for the annual Walk for Hunger was held on Sunday, March 24, 2011 at the Colonnade Hotel. The Walk for Hunger will be held on Sunday, May I, 2011. For more information call 617-723-5000 or log onto In photo are Norman Herr and the Honorable Robert E. Travaglini, Chairman of Project Bread. Norman Herr is part of the first walker group that started walk- ing 42 years ago from the Paulist Center Wednesday night supper club where it all started. The Agency for aft your Insurance Coverages Owned and operated by Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher, Post-Gazette Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Cohveniently located with Free Parking The opinions expressed by ourcolumnistsandoontribu- tors are not necessarily the same as those of The Post- Gazette, its publisher or editor. Photo submissions are accepted by the Post- Gazette provided they are clear, original photos. is a $5 charge for each photo submitted. ,Phons on  submilt via  rna" posazeue@ If you want  photos include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Be Yourseff and There Will Be Peace I've been working as a po- lice officer for over 25 years for the Department of Men- tal Health -- since 1972 -- and I have learned so much about myself and human na- ture from this experience. I have seen how folks can sometimes get overwhelmed by the demons that lurk inside so many. Life is a struggle for all of us, but especially those filled with voices screaming from with- in. However, even for the rest whose inner voices are mute, we too can be filled with doubts about everything or most everything that hap- pens between getting up in the morning and going to bed at night. I read somewhere that my baseball hero Miekey Mantle alluded somewhere that his heavy drinking was the re- sult of his impending death at an early age. Both his fa- ther and grandfather died in their forties from the same illness and Mickey thought his lifespan would also be of short duration. The family disease skipped by him and hit one of his sons also around the 40 mark. He noted before he died, that had he known that he would live longer than expected, he might have taken better care of himself. To me, he looked like Superman on the baseball field, but to himself he was apparently sur- rounded by psychological kryptonite that eventually ate away at his body before his time should have been up. John Lennon had a saying, "Be yourself and there will be peace." We all want to live in peace but few of us really get to experience it such as Mother Teresa or St. Francis of Assisi and even both of them surely lived with long moments of self doubt which is part of our human condi- tion. Life should not be viewed as a disease but rather as a gift to he used well for both us and those around us. We all can't be heroes run- ning around like Superman saving everyone, but we all can do the best we can to make our daily lives work for us. If I had all my life thus far to do over again, I would do things differently. If we say the opposite, it just means we have not yet learned the lessons of life. Too often people blame other people for their own woes, but each of us is personally responsible for how we choose to live. Those in the system that I work with are burdened with more than ordinary fears but even they possess the power with help to live positive lives. De- mons are with us all to some degree and it is in the struggle with them we come to understand ourselves bet- ter. Too many folks try to be someone they are not. They make relationships that cause pain. They live lifestyles that hurt them. It all begins with letting peace inside you. Spring time is here and hope springs eter- nal. John Lennon's advice still rings true, "BE YOUR- SELF AND THERE WILL BE PEACE." TRIP TO FOXWOODS Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Please contact Mary Romano at ABCD North End/West End at 617-523-8125 for further details. 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