Steep Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: David Cho

10/11/2009 - The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees.

The upheaval on Wall Street has deluged public pension systems with losses that government officials and consultants increasingly say are insurmountable unless pension managers fundamentally rethink how they pay out benefits or make money or both.


"State pension fund directors face enormous pressure trying to recover their investment losses. It will be tempting for them to consider investments that promise a high rate of return," said Sue Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, which plans to release a report on pension losses within weeks.

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