Pension Matters

State Employees Retirement Fund
Most Recent Market Value | Michigan Treasury Bureau of Investments

March 2018

I hope many of you were able to hear Jon Braeutigam, Bureau of Investments, Michigan Department of Treasury speak at the February meeting.We appreciate the time, effort and information Mr. Braeutigam and his staff offer to us on a regular basis.Please note there is a great deal of information posted for your review on the Treasury web site.Treasury puts out a quarterly investment review which is published to their site.This is full of information from the Investment Advisory Board’s meetings and discussions regarding state pensions.You can read a summary of Mr. Braeutigam’s recent SERA presentation in this issue under “This and That.”

President’s Budget

President Trump unveiled his federal budget proposal Monday, which takes aim at many of the health and safety net programs that older Americans rely on. The plan sharply reduces funding for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and food stamps.

  • his budget cuts $237 billionfrom Medicare over 10 years
  • The budget plan would cut $72 billion over 10 years in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs



WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

Following up on a Security Summit alert issued Feb. 2, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners’ computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme.

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.Read more at

Who Pay?

I know I’ve said this before but it sticks in my craw - so here it is again:

Two weeks ago (later part of February, 2018), Americans with wages exceeding $1 million stopped paying into Social Security for the year. That’s because anyone earning at least that much hits the Social Security payroll tax cap of $128,400, barely seven weeks into 2018. In contrast, the average American worker contributes payroll taxes throughout the year.

Kudos to Michigan Pension Funds (Just my Opinion)

According to an article in Bloomberg, as of this week, Michigan’s public employees no longer own gun shares.The State of Michigan Retirement System recently sold its holdings in chemical company Olin Corp., which makes Winchester ammunition, according to Ron Leix, a spokesman for the state treasurer.

The sale hasn’t been previously reported. It followed inquires by Bloomberg and other media outlets, as well as from public employees served by the pension, about the investment holdings of teachers in the wake of a shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.Read more at

Workshops Sponsored by Tri County Office on Aging

To register for any of these workshops below, please call Christine at 517-887-1465 or email

  • Matter of Balance: Ingham County Medical Care Facility (3860 Dobie Rd., Okemos) on Thursdays from March 8th to April 26th 2018 from 11am-1pm.
  • Chronic Pain PATH: Charlotte Community Center (226 Bostwick St., Charlotte) on Mondays from March 5th to April 9th 2018 from 1-3:30pm.
  • Diabetes PATH: Redeemer Church (13980 Shavey Rd., DeWitt) on Tuesdays from April 17th to May 22nd 2018 from 1-3:30pm.

Riverwalk Theatre has a new event for those 55 and up!

P.S.S.T. stands for Preshow Senior Second Thursdays.

The inaugural PSST event precedes the Black Box show, White Buffalo, on March 1 — (which is now the FIRST Thursday, since this show’s run has been pushed ahead one week due to predicted flooding, which, luckily spared the theatre!)

Riverwalk patrons aged 55 and up will enjoy a new opportunity to meet new old friends at this fun reception/party/backstage peek before the second Thursday performance of every Riverwalk adult show. This free reception begins at 6 pm (the show, optional, starts at 7; Thursday bargain show senior tickets are only $8 – $20 for musicals.) Riverwalk Theatre is located on Museum Drive, downtown, across from the Lansing Center.

Patrons will mix and mingle (with refreshments) on the opposite stage from where the night’s show will perform (Black Box/Main Stage.) They will get a backstage look at the set-in-progress and get some news about that upcoming show (with perhaps some volunteer opportunities offered; set painting, anyone?)

The current-show director will also pop in to tell a little about the show folks are about to see. Membership and volunteer sign up will be available — plus a members-only drawing for a $20 gift certificate to Riverwalk. 

This group offers fellowship and fun, and we hope it will help new Riverwalk members and volunteers get more personally connected to Riverwalk opportunities.

PSST dates for the rest of the season will be at 6 pm on the second Thursday of each show:

  • March 1 White Buffalo
  • March 22 Lily the Felon’s Daughter
  • April 26 Bud, Not Buddy
  • May 17 Scotland Road
  • June 14 Spamalot (musical)

    FFYI - Scheduled pension payment dates are listed in the tables below.

    January 25February 23March 23
    April 25May 25June 25
    July 25August 24September 25
    October 25November 21December 18
    From ORS

    Changes to Income Tax Withholding

    The IRS published the 2018 income tax withholding tables on January 11, 2018. The 2018 federal tax rates have been updated within our system and you will see the changes to your federal tax withholding deduction beginning with your February 2018 pension payment. You will likely see a decrease in your federal tax withholding deduction based on the new rates and therefore you will see an increase in your net pension amount starting with your February 2018 pension payment. There are no changes to your State of Michigan tax withholding for 2018.

    To view or change your tax withholding selections in miAccount, click the Pension Payments tab, then click Tax Withholding.

    If you have further questions about tax changes for 2018 you may wish to consult your own tax advisor. Published on January 26, 2018 on the Office of Retirement Service web site.

    A little Humor

    Question: Why do retirees smile all the time?
    Answer: Because they can’t hear a word you’re saying!

    Question: When is a retiree’s bedtime?
    Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

    Question: Why don’t retirees mind being called seniors?
    Answer: The term comes with a 10 percent discount.

    Question: How do you know you’re old enough to retire?
    Answer: Instead of lying about your age, you start bragging about it!


    Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at or 517-886-9323.

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