Public pensions funds are OK

Pensions file

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: I've been receiving my quarterly financial statements in the mail recently -- which has just been great, because that shredded paper increases the carbon content in my compost bin.

Now not all of those quarterly statements are too scary to read. The National Council on Teacher Retirement holds its annual convention this week, and trustees will actually be getting a reassuring report about their pension funds. Danielle Karson has that.


Danielle Karson: Despite the gyrations in the stock market, public pension funds have remained fairly insulated from the ups and downs.

Keith Brainard, with the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, offers one reason:

Keith Brainard: Public pension funds are very long-term investors. They have the ability to ride out market volatility like we're seeing right now.

Public pension funds total more than $2.5 trillion. Brainard plans to tell the convention trustees that their money is secure because it's diversified in bonds, real estate and stock.

Brainard: They don't have all their eggs in one basket. The hit on these funds is not nearly as bad as it would be had their assets not been as diversified as they are.

But the picture isn't nearly as rosy for people with private retirement plans, because those are heavily invested in stocks. Pension plans lost as much as $2 trillion this past year, most of which were in IRA's and 401(k) accounts.

In Washington, I'm Danielle Karson for Marketplace

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