Message From the Executive Director
Your Benefits Will Be There
Members sometimes express concern over whether their KPERS benefits will be there when they retire. That’s only natural with some of the media headlines these days.
When members call in, or ask questions during a KPERS presentation, here is what we tell them: “Please don’t worry. There is certainly reason for all of us to increase our attention on KPERS’ funding, but not enough to make you doubt if your benefits will be there for you when it’s time.”
KPERS is a prefunded system. That means contributions and investment returns come in during your career to pay for your benefits when you retire. Right now about $1 billion in contributions come in each year. This alone would almost cover the cost of current annual benefits. And then there’s investment income. On average, it accounts for more than 50% of annual income to the Trust Fund.
KPERS manages almost $19 billion in assets. Your assets. Over time, the System has continued to earn an annual investment average of over 8%, a bit more than our 7.75% target. The Trust Fund is your money. And no one can take it out except to pay your benefits. Not even the Legislature or Governor.
The Trust Fund has nearly tripled in size over the last 20 years. However, KPERS does have a long-term funding shortfall. And it’s been more than two decades in the making. We cannot invest our way out. It will take both time and the right level of employer contributions to fix it.
You’re likely to continue to hear about KPERS in the media in the months and years to come. But we’re your fiduciary. We’re here to watch out for your best financial interest and keep funding needs in front of the Legislature. Rest assured, your benefit will be there.
Alan D. Conroy, Executive Director