Friday, September 08, 2023

Trina Kay Prufer: An almost imperceptible difference between the wording of the pre-2012 cola and the current wording - The Betrayal

From Trina Kay Prufer

September 8, 2023

The almost imperceptible difference between the wording of the pre-2012 cola and the current wording - The Betrayal

STRS would have us believe that the cola was never guaranteed because it was always variable, dependent on current law. But is that true? Lets look at the wording..


“…cost of living increase is payable in accordance with the law at that time.

(presumably this means current law )

The pre-2012 wording

“Actual benefits will be paid in accordance with STRS law in Effect at the time of Your Retirement ”

(a plain reading means the law in effect at the time of retirement)

The betrayal is STRS trying to convince us they mean the same thing. They know its a lie… so do we. STRS has a complete document library of all the literature it produced as well as the training manuals used with counselors. They are fully aware the cola was an integral part of the benefit, as they told it to us repeatedly over the course of two two decades, through the plan booklets, retirement agreements, in-person counseling sessions and workshops.

STRS is the only teacher retirement system in the nation, without social security, EVER, to manipulate a change in the law leaving its aging retirees without a financial safety net. Additionally, never has a public retirement system put forth so much time, money and effort into changing the narrative, hiding the truth and exacerbating the misery.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Trina Kay Prufer: STRS - A Pretend Retirement System

From Trina Kay Prufer

September 7, 2023

STRS - A Pretend Retirement System

Let's count the ways…

The Town Hall meetings are phony because attendees are restricted to those receiving an invitation; they are NOT open to those retirees who would like to ask important questions. They are being held for propaganda purposes, NOT for the benefit of membership.

The videos are phony because those in charge of production select for retirees who have other sources of income.

The monthly meetings are controlled through an agenda that wastes precious time on useless self-congratulatory reports, mostly on how well the investment team is doing.

The bonus system is phony because it rewards investment personnel for meeting their own benchmarks… They ALWAYS meet their benchmarks, draining millions from the fund.

The ORSC reports are phony because they rationalize outrageous expenses by telling membership they are needed to employ the best and the brightest. Those expenses include: expensive art work, subsidized lunches, subsidized childcare, tuition reimbursements and other perks not seen anywhere else in the PUBLIC pension world. There is absolutely no oversight of the abuses and mismanagement.

For retirees, the defined-benefit plan document was phony, because the payout, without the guaranteed 3% annual cola, shortchanges the lifetime benefit by up to half, over a 20 -30 year period.

In fact, none of this is normal. A retirement system is designed to give back more than what employees could save on their own because of pooled contributions and professional management. We receive just the opposite.… No inflation protection, actives pay in 14%, with a normal cost of 11%, and a management team that assumes we are totally ignorant of all the ways we are being scammed, deceived and manipulated. Those who reap the benefits are STRS employees, politicians and Wall Street. Can it even be called a retirement system? Perhaps that‘s the biggest lie of all.

It looks like STRS is holding secret town meetings these days. Maybe you're invited...and maybe you're not! Depends on who does the cherry-picking.


Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Trina Kay Prufer: The injustice of changing the defined-benefit agreement after retirement

From Trina Kay Prufer

September 6, 2023

The injustice of changing the defined-benefit agreement after retirement 

One of the issues that keeps me up at night is the injustice of changing the defined-benefit, after it was worked for, and agreed upon. Inflation protection, in the form of an annual 3% cola, is not “something extra” in the form of an “enhancement”, it the life blood of how we live the rest of our lives. It preserves the buying power of the original benefit. We were all given OPTIONS in how we wanted to receive the payout of the defined-benefit.

Those options turned out to be lies. We ALL need inflation protection, especially as Ohio is a non-Social Security state. Taking the partial PLOP or account withdrawal, could have provided the inflation protection we need NOW. Compounded interest over time is powerful in preserving a stable income over the retirement years. Our buying power is now diminished by about 25%, all since 2012, and causes tremendous anxiety and stress.

Personal retirement investment accounts generate income, in addition to preserving capital. We were robbed of that choice, because we were not given truthful information. STRS continues to make money off the amounts we contributed, for many of us since the 1970s. That’s unjust enrichment.

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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