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Monthly Benefit Payments Direct Deposit Dates
June* 06/01/2015
July 07/01/2015
August 07/31/2015
September* 09/01/2015
October 10/01/2015
November 10/30/2015
December* 12/01/2015

*Direct deposit notice or check stub will be mailed to all benefit recipients.

You will receive a check stub whenever there is a change to your benefit, such as health care premium change, a tax withholding change, or a bank account change.

SERS strongly encourages all retirees to have their pension payments paid directly to a bank or credit union. Direct deposit of your funds is the only way to assure that your payment will be available on the first of every month. Direct deposit eliminates any concerns about late, lost, or stolen checks. Since pension checks cannot be forwarded, direct deposit also eliminates delays when you travel during retirement. It is your responsibility to make sure the funds are in your account before writing checks against your account.

If you do not enroll in direct deposit, there is no guarantee that you will receive your payment right on the first of every month. Delivery delays might occur that are beyond SERS’ control, such as lost or stolen checks. You must wait 10 days after the expected delivery date before SERS can begin the process of stopping payment and issuing a new check. This delay will not occur if you have direct deposit.

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(5/12/15) - The retirement savings crisis is becoming a major concern. You may recall from some of our previous stories that 40% of Baby Boomers and at least 45% of working-age households do not have any retirement savings.

But few realize that the retirement savings crisis is generally much worse for women.

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Why is this? According to Sallie Krawcheck of The Washington Post, women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, live six to eight years longer, and have higher medical costs. In addition, nearly 80% of women are single during the final years of their lives.

By closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic engagement of women, it is estimated that the GDP would increase by approximately 9% and the Social Security savings gap would decrease by nearly a third.

Krawcheck recommends improvements at both workplace and public policy levels to help resolve the crisis.

Read more here.

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(5/4/15) - Thank you to the more than 15,000 school bus drivers and all transportation staff who help keep Ohio’s children safe every day.

 

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(4/29/15) - Thank you, Congresswoman Beatty, for co-sponsoring H.R. 711, or the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.

Rep. Beatty (D-OH-3) joins 17 other legislators in supporting a repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), including Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15).

If you have not already done so, we urge you to ask your congressional representative to co-sponsor the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act by sending a message through our Legislative Action Center tool. To date, you have sent over 3,100 messages requesting support of this important bill.

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(4/22/15) - Will longer life expectancies impact the funding levels of state and local pension funds? The answer is no, according to a recent brief from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

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The key findings of the brief, “How Will Longer Lifespans Affect State and Local Pension Funding?” are:

1.    If public pension plans adopt the new mortality tables designed for private sector plans, estimated life expectancy would increase by only 0.5 years and the funded ratio would be reduced from 73% to 72%.

2.    If public pension plans were required to adopt a stricter standard to fully incorporate expected future mortality improvements, estimated life expectancy would increase by 2.3 years and the funded ratio would be reduced to 67%.

Not even private sector plans are considering such low mortality rates as illustrated by the second standard.

Researchers concluded that longer life expectancies are not a serious problem among public plans. In fact, the brief found public plans “seem to be making a serious effort to keep their life expectancy assumptions up-to-date.”

In 2012, SERS developed a pension reform plan to address these concerns, which was later signed into law. The changes to age and service requirements will be implemented on August 1, 2017.

These modifications will help keep the system financially sound long into the future and protect the benefits of SERS’ retirees.

The full brief is available here.

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(4/15/15) - Did you know that 40% of Baby Boomers have no retirement savings? And only 19% have saved $250,000 or more for retirement?

If you think that sounds substantial, consider this: A savings of $150,000 would provide an annual retirement income of only $7,500 over a span of 20 years, or a monthly income of approximately $625.

This information was released in a new report issued by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) as part of National Retirement Planning Week, taking place from April 13 to 17.

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Led by a group of well-known education, consumer advocacy, and financial services organizations, the purpose of National Retirement Planning Week is to promote prudent retirement planning and show that it is possible to “retire on your terms.”

SERS retirees are guaranteed a lifetime pension once eligibility requirements are met; however, supplemental savings are often necessary to maintain the same standard of living after retirement.

Consider your monthly expenses – utility bills, mortgage/rent, groceries, medical bills, and entertainment expenses. Will your pension enough to cover necessary expenses and maintain your current standard of living?

If you’re unsure, you may want to explore some of the educational resources, tools, and calculators available on IRI’s website and evaluate your long-term financial goals. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the greater the likelihood you will achieve the retirement of your dreams.

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(4/8/15) - Financial Literacy Month, sometimes referred to as Financial Capability Month, stresses the importance of establishing and maintaining healthy financial habits.

According to a 2013 survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 40% of Americans would give themselves a C, D, or F in financial literacy. Are you part of the statistic? Consider the following questions.

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Have you established a budget? Keep track of your purchases. With a written log, you will be able to take a closer look at your spending and identify areas where you can make wiser choices, or cut back altogether.

Do you have an emergency fund? Most experts recommend saving enough to cover at least three to six months of living expenses, such as a mortgage payment, utility bills, and car payments. You don’t want to rely on credit cards to pay your bills should you encounter unexpected expenses, or lose your job.

Do you have a realistic savings strategy? If you’re considering a major purchase, such as a car or house, you may want to speak with a financial advisor to determine the best savings method and vehicle. Also, consider a supplemental retirement plan such as Ohio Deferred Compensation. It is never too early to save for retirement.

Are you managing your debt? It is easy to turn to credit cards as a source of supplemental income. Avoid falling into the credit card trap. If you have a good payment history, see if your credit card company can lower your interest rate. Pay more than the minimum payment each month and keep discretionary spending under control.

There are many online resources available to help improve your financial literacy.

Visit gobankingrates.com for several apps, blogs, podcasts, and books to enhance your money IQ. Los Angeles Daily News offers valuable websites for creating a budget, how to build personal wealth, researching your FICO score, and some of the most effective strategies for baby boomers and millennials.

Through basic financial education and discipline, you can achieve financial stability and peace of mind knowing that your savings plan covers life's potential hurdles and milestones.


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(4/2/15) - One of the fiduciary responsibilities of SERS’ Board of Trustees is to review the system’s administrative expenses. Previously, these expenses were only distributed during SERS’ monthly Board meetings to attendees in the Retirement Board Agenda. However, in an effort to increase financial transparency, SERS is now posting these expenses on its website.

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This allows members and retirees who cannot attend monthly Board meetings to access the administrative expense reports.

These reports will be accessible from the Board of Trustees and the Financial Reports pages of the website.

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(3/30/15) - Americans continue to fall short of retirement savings goals, the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) said in a recent study.

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A typical family needs to replace approximately 85% of its pre-retirement income to maintain a similar standard of living in retirement. According to “The Continuing Retirement Savings Crisis,” the average working household has virtually no retirement savings. In fact, the average near-retirement household has less than half its annual income saved in a retirement account.

The median retirement account balance for all working-age households (ages 25-64) is $2,500, while the average retirement account balance for near-retirement households is $14,500. At least 45% of working-age households do not have any retirement account assets.

Researchers found that the trend away from defined benefit (DB) plans has had great implications for the retirement income stability and wealth of most working households. Over the past decade, there has been declining access to and participation in DB plans.

While 401(k) plans offer portability, they also place all of the investment risk and most of the contribution burden on individual workers. These plans were originally intended to supplement, not replace DB pensions.

In order to address the retirement savings crisis, NIRS recommends that the U.S. take action in three key areas:

  • Strengthen Social Security.
  • Increase low- and middle-wage workers’ access to high-quality, low-cost retirement plans with professional investment management, risk pooling, and lifetime payouts.
  • Expand the Saver’s credit to help increase the retirement savings of families who do not receive consistent wage increases.

SERS members do not contribute to Social Security; however, it is important for you review your finances and seek ways to supplement your pension. A good start is Ohio Deferred Compensation, a supplemental retirement plan for Ohio’s public employees. Developing a savings plan early in your career will help provide peace of mind in retirement.

The full NIRS study can be found here.

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The Retirement Board meets at least one day every month, except January and August, in Columbus. Following each Board meeting, SERS issues Board Meeting Highlights detailing the Board's discussion items.

If you would like to learn more about the Board's discussions, or if you care about your SERS health care news, fund status and financial updates, subscribe to our email list. You will receive monthly news about SERS events, health care, and investments.

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Oppose Social Security Offset and Windfall Penalties

We encourage SERS members and retirees to contact their members of Congress to ask them to support elimination of these provisions. Contacting your legislators is easy using SERS' Legislative Action Alert. By entering your ZIP code, you’ll have access to the contact information (e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address) of your federal legislators.

Encourage your legislator to support the Equal Treatment for Public Servants Act.

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