PERS NewsbreakJune 2019

  1. Field Counselor Travel Restrictions
  2. Preparing for Retirement
  3. Retirees In Touch: Meet Gregg and Deb Burton
  4. Alaska Retirement Management Board
  5. The Post Retirement Pension Adjustment
  6. Alaska Retirement Systems Market Value
  7. We Want to Share Your Retirement Story

Field Counselor Travel Restrictions

Due to broad travel restrictions for State of Alaska employees, the Division of Retirement and Benefits is unable to send counselors to the intended travel regions as planned for the 2019 spring travel season until further notice. We will reevaluate our budgetary limitations over the summer and will continue to keep you posted on any changes. In the interim, Regional Counselors are offering other educational avenues for employers and their employees. During the month that you were scheduled to receive a visit from your Regional Counselor, we will be contacting employers to organize counseling and training options either telephonically, through WebEx, or in person (for Anchorage and Juneau only).

Some examples of these training options are:

  • Individual telephonic appointments at the members’convenience.
  • A group teleconference meeting to go over provided materials for a specific topic or tier group.
  • Webinars provided by the Division and/or Empower Retirement.
  • On-site visits for employers located in the Juneau or Anchorage areas (with either Division or Empower Retirement Counselors).

During these sessions, employees can discuss the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) benefits for all tiers, the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), the Supplemental Annuity Plan (SBS), and the Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP). We also encourage employers to contact their Regional Counselor to discuss which topics, times, and services work best for you and your employees.

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Preparing for Retirement

Money Tree In the upcoming editions of the PERS and TRS Newsbreaks, we will be discussing retirement preparation ideas as well as welcoming helpful advice and suggestions from our current retirees that may assist those who will soon be retiring. In this edition, we will look at preparing your retirement budget in advance.

If retirement is now in your vocabulary, you may want to start developing a retirement budget. After all, guessing the income you may need in retirement and doing so incorrectly is not an option, unless you want to go back to work. In addition to what your expenditures may be today, there are future expenses you need to take into consideration.

The easiest way to start creating a retirement budget is to track your expenses and income and examine what costs may no longer be a factor once you retire. For example, items like union dues, professional clothing, or uniforms may no longer be necessary.

Keep in mind, your medical insurance premiums will change based on your tier and the elections made for your retiree medical coverage at time of retirement. It’s good to know what your expenses are now, to help you plan how much you may need when you retire. Speaking of expenses—if you’re planning on moving after retirement, be sure to include all the charges that will be incurred during the process, such as realtor and closing costs, engineering examination, and all other associated fees. If you’re buying a new home, make sure to time its purchase after you receive your first retirement check. Retirement benefits are payable at the end of each month and the initial benefit set-up can take up to six weeks to finalize. We will not be able to verify your income for loans until your benefit has been fully processed. If you participate in other retirement plans, such as the Alaska Supplemental Benefits Annuity Plan (SBS-AP), you cannot withdraw your money from the account until 60 days after your date of termination of employment.

Stay tuned for the next edition, we will discuss creating a retirement plan to get you to your retirement goals!

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Retirees In Touch: Meet Gregg and Deb Burton

Gregg and DebGregg and Deb Burton moved to Alaska in 1995, where Deb accepted a job at Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation and Gregg at the City of Dillingham. In 2011, they retired from their respective jobs and purchased an old sailboat in Washington State. After spending some time preparing, they sailed out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to realize Gregg’s lifelong dream of sailing around the world.

They sailed the coast of California to San Diego and beyond. During the holiday season the following year, they found themselves hiking and swimming with Dillingham friends on the islands near La Paz in Baja California, Mexico. In the following months, they sailed from harbor to harbor along the 1,500-mile Pacific coast of Mexico while struggling to learn the language. On an offshore passage from Mexico to Costa Rica, a fierce summer squall rocked their boat and partially filled the cabin with water. Deb stated she would not soon forget the long hours in the dark, scooping out buckets of seawater and wondering if she would live to see dawn.

Deb and Gregg left their boat for a brief stop in Ecuador, then made their way down to Peru, where they toured the Peruvian Andes and admired the remains of the Inca Empire. The pair spent three days traveling the Maranon and Amazon rivers on a cargo boat that eventually brought them to the city of Iquitos, Peru where they spent a week in a jungle camp. Next, they traveled to the Galapagos, hiking over old lava beds and spending time with ancient tortoises and abundant iguanas. A stop in French Polynesia, staying at a self-sufficient “homestead” where three generations of a single-family harvest from the land and sea. Eventually the two landed in New Zealand where they relaxed in the calm waters of Minerva Reef.

The Burton’s plans for the future include sailing from Tonga to Samoa and Fiji over the coming years, and to continue sailing westward as long as health and spirit allow.

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Alaska Retirement Management Board Upcoming Meetings

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - Juneau, AK
Times to be Determined

  • Audit Committee Meeting
  • Defined Contribution Plan Committee Meeting
  • Actuarial Committee Meeting
  • Operations Committee Meeting

Thursday & Friday, June 20 & 21, 2019 - Juneau, AK
9 a.m.

  • Board of Trustees Meeting

For more information and meeting materials, please visit Treasury.dor.alaska.gov/armb.

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The Post Retirement Pension Adjustment

The automatic Post Retirement Pension Adjustment (PRPA) is payable to a Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) retiree under age 60, if retired for five years or more on or before July 1, 2019, and a Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) retiree under age 60, if retired for eight years on or before July 1, 2019.

In addition to the above requirements, a retiree must have been receiving a benefit in the prior year (2018) to be eligible for the 2019 PRPA. Eligible recipients who have not received pension benefits during the entire preceding calendar year will receive a prorated PRPA.

If you meet these requirements or are age 60 to 64 on July 1, 2019, you will receive 50% (1.415%) of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) change during 2018.

Retirees age 65 or older and all disability benefit recipients receive 75% (2.122%) of the CPI. The PRPA for survivor benefit recipients is calculated on the member’s eligibility. The CPI for the 2019 PRPA is 2.830%.

If you do not meet any of the above criteria, you are not eligible.

Due to fund conditions, the Division did not recommend an ad hoc PRPA for 2019. The ad hoc PRPA is defined in statute as, “…based on the financial condition of the retirement funds.”

Example of monthly statement:

Monthly Benefit Summary
Base BenefitsDeductions
PERS ORIGINAL BASE$XX.XXPERS FED INCOME WITHHOLD$XX.XX
1)PERS PRIOR PRPAS$XX.XXPERS DENTAL, VISION, AUDIO$XX.XX
2)PERS 2019 AUTOMATIC PRPA$XX.XXPERS OPTIONAL LIFE INSUR$XX.XX
PERS LONG TERM CARE - RET$XX.XX

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Alaska Retirement Systems Market Value

April 30, 2019
Public Employee's Retirement System$18,956,186,610
Teachers' Retirement System$9,094,319,824
Judicial Retirement System$216,172,937
National Guard/Naval Militia Retirement System $40,705,635
Alaska Supplemental Annuity Plan$4,082,480,665
Alaska Deferred Compensation Plan$980,775,564

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We Want to Share Your Retirement Story

Do you volunteer, travel, still live in Alaska? Let us know how and where you are living now. Submit your stories on our website at Alaska.gov/drb/drb/retirement/retireesInTouch.html, via email to doa.drb@alaska.gov, or mail your stories and photos to the address on this newsletter, Attention: Newsbreak Editor.


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