Pandemic of pension woes is plaguing the nation
By: John W. Schoen
Monday, 5 Aug 2013
Detroit, you’re not alone.
Across the nation, cities and states are watching Detroit’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy filing with great trepidation. Years of underfunded retirement promises to public sector workers, which helped lay Detroit low, could plunge them into a similar and terrifying financial hole.
A CNBC.com analysis of more than 120 of the nation’s largest state and local pension plans finds they face a wide range of burdens as their aging workforces near retirement.
Thanks to a patchwork of accounting practices and rosy investment assumptions, it’s not even clear just how big a financial hole many states and cities have dug for themselves. That may soon change, thanks to a new set of government accounting standards that could serve as a nasty wake-up call to states and cities relying on rosy scenarios and head-in-the-sand accounting.