What can pensioners do when the pension system is being mismanaged?

I am a retired teacher in Indiana. This story is about my pension. So my question is not an academic exercise.


That is what you get when your neighbors are stuck in the mud. The primordial ooze. At least you got more than the $7.25 per hour. Some bright side.

The problem here is that half the retired teachers want their pension money run through an ESG filter, and the other half do not. How do you solve that problem?

Unless you are implying that you are [more] in favor of individual retirement arrangements rather than co-mingled pension arrangements? Then you can choose to filter by ESG and your neighbor can choose not to if they so desire.

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Good luck with that.

Some years ago, Honda of America employees sued, alleging Honda and it’s 401k administrator failed their fiduciary duty. The administrator, Merrill Lynch, invested the 401k money in funds managed by Merrill, which were notable for both their high costs, and low performance. The court granted Honda’s motion to dismiss.

Remember the push in Congress, some years ago, to hold retirement fund advisors to a fiduciary standard? Remember how the financial industry howled? Apparently, in Shiny-land, conflict of interest and self-dealing are good, but duty to the person whose money you are playing with is bad.


I’m guessing there is no “buy out” option where you can take a lump sum and run. I ALWAYS opted to get the money in my grubby little hands.

FWIW, the WSJ journal has had several articles over the past couple years showing at best that ESG equals non-ESG investing but usually underperforms. The biggest issue though is there is no consensus definition of what qualifies as ESG. For example, Exxon ranks high in many ESG reviews but the average person that worries about such things wouldn’t think so.


I like the idea of pensions. In theory they are a good way to pool retirement income across a population of people. Problem is finding one responsibly run. So I agree 100% with JLC – if you can get your money out of a pensions, DO IT. (Of course, if still employed there you have no choice but to keep it in).

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You are assuming the teachers had any say. This was more political.


1% of the GDP goes to the wallets of a few thousand people on Wall St.


There is no “buy out” option now. When I retired 12 years ago in June, I could have but It didn’t seem like a good idea then.

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With approximately** $45.8 billion in assets under management** at fiscal year-end 2021, the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) is among the largest 100 pension funds in the United States. We work to serve the needs of approximately 507,957 members representing 1,290 employers including public universities, school corporations, municipalities, and state agencies.

TRS., TX teacher’s retirement system… ERS is analogous to the INPRS

**approximately $34.1 billion **

TPTB will not willingly relinquish their husbandry of this pot of gold.
In TX they maintain it at about 70% funded.

This means to me, that they are diverting funds for “other” uses.

TX passed anti ESG laws about 6 months ago.
Being that there’s no way for me to hold the L&S in Austin Accountable for their religion, La the serenity prayer, I let it go.



Offer different options, like your 401(k) at work?

The dirty little secret is that for a pension to work, the company must still be in existence when it’s time to draw out. How many bankruptcies have we seen where the pension fund is looted by management (or, in the case of some, Teamsters)?

The only way to absolutely guarantee them is to have them run by the public sector, but that is a non-starter for many disparate reasons. But yes, having seen Westinghouse and a bunch of other old line companies go toes up, I’d be reluctant to have a pension managed by corporate mucks who will be wealthy and gone before I get mine back.


I have mentioned before my aunt, a teacher, and how she feared for her pension, when the Shiny Governor tried to loot the state pension fund to cover a budget deficit he created by throwing money at the “JCs”.

It now being a dozen years after her death, I decided it was safe to shred all her financial papers. Her pension came as an annuity, from Mutual Benefit Life, which went BK. As I was shredding her files, I came across the paperwork where the NEA stepped up to recover her money for her and roll it over to an annuity from Prudential.



My question would be, how much money is in the INPRS system? The article isn’t specific. $550K would be a lot if it’s a $5m fund, but not out of line if it’s a $550M fund or $5B fund. If Indiana is mandating ESG not be a factor in state-involved funds, then Strive guarantees compliance with that fiduciary standard, regardless of how joyfully the media fans the flames of controversy. If it’s a mandatory contribution to the pension (as it is in most states), then the main recourse is to “protest” through the union.

This guy Ramaswamy is laughing all the way to the bank! He made a big media splash with that fund last year.

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$42 billion according to the 2022 annual report.

0.55/42.4 = 1.3%



Interesting. I worked for P&G long enough to qualify for their pension. This will be a nice addition to my SS and 401K. Every year, P&G sends me a nice little package that tells me how funded the plan is. As of 7/1/2021 there was $1.7B of total plan assets and they calculate that the plan is 81% funded.

The package every year also informs each pensioner that their pension is also backed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a US government agency that “insures” pension benefits. Here’s a link to who they are and what they do →

While I believe that current (and past) management at P&G is not focused on looting the pension fund - at least if a new set of management comes in, our pension will be covered by this benefit guarantee.

I would think most pension plans (optionally, or are required to) provide this coverage.


As a survivor of the WeCo/At&t/Lucent/Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia shuffle, merge, my near 40 year pension now come from Nokia, even though I retired under Lucent Tech in '02. Still funded, still in play. And covered by the PBGC insurance. Our management retirees, were beyond the level covered by PBGC, so along the way when a Plan Buyout was offered, most went for it. It was a fair offer, more than I’d expected, and at the time it was offered I could see matching the pension itself with alternative investments, but it couldn’t cover the other health and dental coverages, so I/we declined and continue on with Nokia now… Some took the money, maybe blew it, have not heard any complaints… So far so good… But I believe some, maybe Avaya retirees did have to sort out the PBGC filings, but I’ve not heard how they made out… Just good to know it’s there, for now…


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Citing the PBGC as “insurance” is a joke. They can–and DO–reduce pension benefit payouts as they choose. Those reductions are typically quite substantial (80%-90% lower payments is not unknown). It is the equivalent of Social Security. It is not designed as a viable income source for an affordable lifestyle. It is a minimum income designed to help keep recipients alive by providing something rather than the recipients having no income at all.


My uncle was not union. Finished his career at Weco as an instructor in Dublin, Ohio. Took a buyout around 84-85. Had two payout options: his life only, which was more, or for the life of him or his wife, which was less. He took the fatter offer, so the pension income ended with his death in 2012. My aunt said she still had the medical, but her doc dropped out of the network, so it doesn’t help much. I remember when Schacht made the rounds of cities where there were a lot of Lucent retirees, telling them to not push back on the cuts on the retiree medical, because, if they did, the company would go BK and they would get nothing. So the company cut the medical benefit, to save about $20M, then the Board handed CEO Pat Russo a $20M bonus.

Some of us old phartz remember when McDonnell Douglas eliminated the retiree medical benefit, for non-union retirees, no grandfathering or phase out. One day you have insurance, the next you don’t. The court said it was legal, because only the union people had the medical as part of a negotiated, written, contract. The promises made to the non-union workers in the employee handbook were held to be not enforceable on the company, because, apparently, 30 years of your life, or whatever the term of service required for the benefit was, does not count as “consideration”.



I spent many weeks at that Dublin Training center, through the '80s into the 90s when they moved most to Orlando… Many great Instructors over the years…

Yes, they messed over management folks because they could, they tried to promote me a few times, I declined, saw how some were treated, etc, besides I wanted to play with the new equipment…

The end game for Lucent was pretty rotten, not forgotten, Pat, McGuinn, Carli, grabbed what they could rather than build the company, a lot of folks were trapped, lost a bunch… Sad as there were a lot of great folks. Hated to see the games of those days…


My grandfather was a mechanic at a truck line. Several times, the truck line tried to make him shop foreman. He didn’t want any part of it, because it meant walking away from the Teamsters pension he had been working for since the late 30s, and trusting that little jerkwater truck line instead. Finally, when they were leaning on him again, he decided retiring at 62 was a good idea, and he was gone.

I saw McGuinn on bubblevision, repeatedly, lying like a rug. No-one prosecutes “JCs” anymore. No-one ever laid a glove on him, that I am aware. Carli is pathetic. Keeps running for elective office, even though she hasn’t been able to get a job since HP fired her. The Steelcase dealer I worked for made a bundle building the local offices she wanted HP to have. The moment she was tossed, we made another bundle tearing out all that 3-4 year old furniture and sending it to scrap, because new HP management realized there was no business case for all those offices.



My grandfather worked in the garment industry as a cutter for decades. His pension was held and managed by his union. A few years before he retired, the union bosses stole all the pension money (yes, ALL), and none of it was covered by the PBGC because it was held/managed by the union.

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