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(11/15/17) - Today is National Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day. ESPs are our members – secretaries, paraprofessionals, food service workers, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers, and information technology personnel, just to name a few. They make up more than 40% of K-12 education employees.

 

ESPs are critical to the daily operations of our schools, and dedicated to keeping our children safe.

 

Thank you for all you do!

 

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(10/11/17) - After considering alternate proposals aimed at immediately improving SERS’ financial position and reaching its long-term funding goals, the Board approved a three-year COLA suspension for retirees and benefit recipients in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Ultimately, after weighing the financial advice of the System’s actuary, the Board chose the three-year COLA suspension as the best way to improve the System’s financial footing while limiting the impact to retirees and benefit recipients as much as possible.

“SERS engaged in a two-year process for determining the best way to address the System’s short-term and long-term financial challenges that was open and inclusive for all of our stakeholders,” said SERS’ Executive Director Richard Stensrud. “The Board considered a number of proposals that would have addressed the Board’s goals, but in the end they were in agreement that this was the best course of action. I want to thank our advocacy group partners for their input at all stages of this difficult but necessary process.”

From the beginning, the Board had two specific financial objectives: get the System’s funded status to 70% by 2018, and get to 90% funded by 2032. Getting to 70% funded allows limited money to be used for health care, while getting to 90% provides downside protection in the event of a significant financial downturn. The three-year plan accomplishes both.

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The three-year COLA suspension for retirees and benefit recipients will begin on January 1, 2018.

In the same vote, the Board authorized staff to seek legislation that will delay the start of COLA increases for future retirees and benefit recipients until the fourth anniversary of their allowance or benefit. This will assure that future retirees are treated similarly to current retirees and benefit recipients with respect to COLAs.   

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(10/26/17) - According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), only 41% of Ohio adults have a financial plan for retirement.

A recent survey conducted by the PPP for the Association of Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) revealed that many Ohioans did not have financial plans because they felt they lacked the knowledge or lacked the money to invest.
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When asked how far along their retirement planning was, responses included everything from they had not yet started planning (14%), to they had just started planning (12%), to they started planning but had to stop because the money was needed for something else (23%), to they had a plan and were following it (41%).
 
Of Ohioans without a financial plan, 23% said they did not know enough "to feel comfortable" saving and investing for retirement.
 
More than half of Ohioans did not seek financial help from experts. Fifty-seven percent of those without financial plans thought that using a financial planner or counselor would be too expensive.
 
Also of note, Ohio residents relied more “on word of mouth than checking out the background of a financial professional.” Additionally, of those Ohio adults using a financial professional to help with their investments:
  • 61% made their decision based on a recommendation from a relative, friend, co-worker or neighbor
  • 24% did their own research into the professional’s background and services
  • 76% said they checked to see if the person was licensed to do business in Ohio
  • 17% actually contacted the Ohio Department of Commerce - Securities Division, which is where they would be most likely to verify proper licensing
To encourage Ohioans to save and invest for retirement, half-a-dozen local and national organizations have banded together to launch the “Building the Bridge to Investor Education and Protection for Ohioans” program.
 
The program features the Detroit Public Television documentary, “When I’m 65,” and links financial professionals with community events and resources that foster investor education.
 
To learn more about the Building the Bridge program, please visit www.wi65.org/ohio.
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(10/18/17) - A newly discovered Wi-Fi vulnerability, called a Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK), may be putting your wireless devices and data at risk.

The flaw was discovered in the WPA2 protocol, which many rely on to secure their Wi-Fi routers.The vulnerability allows attackers to capture messages traveling between a Wi-Fi router and your phone, tablet, or other wireless devices. 

While manufacturers work on deploying patches for this issue, following good security practices is the best safeguard for protecting your devices against this attack.

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Good practices using Wi-Fi devices:

  • Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks when possible. These are any open networks that do not require a password to join.
  • If possible, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connecting to an unsecured wireless network. VPN services are offered as an online service or can be configured on some home routers.
  • Check websites for encryption when browsing. This is often indicated by a closed padlock icon in the address bar of the browser or by a URL that begins with https:// instead of http://. These websites are more secure and are not affected by this vulnerability.
  • Keep your device up to date with the latest manufacturer software patches.
  • Manually select Wi-Fi networks instead of allowing your device to automatically join. This adds an additional step before using a wireless network but ensures you know when your device connects and to what networks.
  • Turn off your device's Wi-Fi antenna when not in use. 
  • Utilize two-factor authentication where possible. This provides an extra level of security in case someone is able to capture your password. 
  • Log out of websites or apps when finished. This is especially important for banking and other financial websites.

Good practices for setting up a Wi-Fi router:

  • Secure the router with a password using WPA2. While the recent vulnerability impacts WPA2, this is still the strongest protocol available on most home routers.
  • Limit access to the router to the specific hardware ID (or MAC) of each of the wireless devices in your home. This typically involves logging into the router's management page and adding the MAC addresses (usually found on a sticker on the device or in the device settings) to a list of approved devices. Devices not on the list will be prevented from even attempting to connect.
  • Change the default password for administering the router. Factory default passwords are widely available and allow an attacker to easily compromise your device.
  • When possible, limit administration of the router to physical network connections. This means you will need a device with an Ethernet connection to the router in order to manage the settings.
  • Turn off remote management of the router if possible. Many newer models allow management of the router from outside of the home network, which provides an additional opportunity for attackers.
  • Set the router to automatically install updates. If this is not possible, log into the management page of the router on a regular basis to check for updates.
  • If the router supports a guest network, configure this for use by friends and family who visit your home. The guest network is typically isolated from the other devices in your home and saves the hassle of adding MAC addresses for devices that are not usually in your home.
  • If possible, try adjusting the signal strength of the router until full coverage is reached throughout your home with minimal overreach (signal outside your home). This helps prevent attackers from sitting in a public area such as in a parked car while attempting to compromise your device.
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Contact Congress Regarding Important Issues Affecting SERS Retirees

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.

 

COLA Changes: What You Need to Know

Click here to read about the proposed changes to the Cost-of-Living Adjustment.

Click here for a chart that compares SERS' COLA changes to the COLAs of other Ohio public retirement systems. This document also contains a breakdown of percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index over the past 15 years.

Click here for a detailed statement from SERS' actuary, and click here for the actuary's explanation of why the COLA changes are necessary. 

Monthly Administrative Expense Reports

The Monthly Administrative Expense Reports contain information about SERS' day-to-day operating expenses and is provided in both summary and detail formats.

Click here to view these administrative expense reports.

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