Pension Matters

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

May 2018

The Many Ways to Reach the Office of Retirement Services (ORS)

The official web site is At the top of this page is a link to MIAccount where you can watch a tutorial on how to use this resource if you haven’t before. From the MIAccount location you can find all kinds of detailed information on your benefit accounts. You can also fine the “Message Board” where you can send a question to ORS and get a response in two days. Also on the black bar at the top of the page are other ways you can contact ORS.

Additionally, ORS has a Facebook page, a Twitter Account and a YouTube page. Of course, you can also use the old fashioned way of calling. The Lansing area telephone number: 517-322-5103 or From outside the Lansing area: 800-381-5111 and fax by using 517-322-1116.

Robust 2017 Market Lowers Assumed Rate of Return for State Retirement Systems; More Than 13 Percent Overall Investment Return Last Year

With State of Michigan Retirement Systems’ investments receiving returns of more than 13 percent in 2017, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) has lowered the assumed rate of return to reduce the overall risk for state retirees and employees vested in the pension system.

The change was made under the new Dedicated Investment Gains policy adopted by state retirement boards and DTMB Director David L. DeVries this past summer.  See the full notice on Treasury’s website

Long Term Care

Long term care costs can be a burden in retirement. Medicare won’t pay for it and neither will Medigap. And if you don’t come up with a plan for covering that expense in advance, you’re apt to run into trouble when you’re at your most vulnerable.

About seventy percent of seniors who reach age 65 wind up needing some type of long-term care in their lifetime. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 69% of people requiring long-term care will end up needing it for three years, while 20% of today’s 65-year-olds will require long-term care for a period of five years or more.

And that care doesn’t tend to come cheap. A nursing home stay, for example, comes in at $82,125 a year, on average, for folks who are willing to bunk with a roommate. Private rooms, meanwhile, cost upward of $92,000 annually.

Of course, if long-term care insurance were cheaper, more people would buy it. The average policy costs $2,700 a year. But the savings you stand to reap down the line could be enough to more than cover that expense, especially if you wind up needing long-term care for a lengthy period of time as a senior. Read more at

Check out the Voluntary Benefits section on the Michigan Civil Service web page under employee benefits/voluntary benefits for information on LTC available through state vendors.

Here’s what you need to know before the New Medicare Cards arrive.
  1. Medicare cards will be sent between April 2018 and April 2019. Make sure your address is up to date because Medicare will be sending it to the location associated with your Social Security account. To update your address information contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or go online.
  2. Your new card will no longer include your Social Security number. It will include your name, new Medicare number, and the dates your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage started.
  3. Start using your new Medicare card once you receive it. Destroy the old one immediately, since it contains your Social Security number. If you happen to lose or misplace your card you can get a replacement, but you can also can access your new Medicare number on a Medicare Summary Notice or through Medicare.
  4. Keep your Medicare Advantage, Part D prescription, and/or Medigap. Continue using your health or drug plan’s card when you get health care or fill a prescription, but know you will also get the new Original Medicare card.
  5.
Know Your Financial Advisor

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a new investor protection rule covering advisers who handle IRAs and 401(k)s. It would require them to act as fiduciaries—meaning that, when giving advice, they would have to put your financial interests ahead of theirs. If they sell you a mutual fund with a high commission when low-commission versions are available, their actions would be not only dishonorable, they would be against the law.

The U.S. Department of Labor released new regulations in April that require any paid financial advisers to do what is right for their customers, even if it results in lower fees, a change the department said could save investors $40 billion over 10 years.

However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others that want to stop the fiduciary rule from being implemented filed a lawsuit in U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite widespread concerns about fiduciary practices, the Fifth Circuit panel ruled that ”Congress, not a federal agency, needs to address these issues.

AARP has filed a motion stating that the court panel’s decision ‘robs workers, retirees and their families of crucial protections for their retirement investments.’

Until this issue is settled, make sure you check out your advisor. Ask the person managing, or offering to manage, your investments to state in writing that he or she will act as a fiduciary at all times, for retirement and nonretirement accounts. Ask the adviser to compare the costs and benefits of leaving your retirement money in your 401(k) versus investing it through the firm’s IRA. “You want a good-faith estimate, in writing, of what you’ll pay in direct fees or sales commissions, plus any payments the adviser’s firm quietly receives for selling particular mutual funds or annuities”, says Ron Rhoades, director of Western Kentucky University’s financial planning program. Don’t settle for generalities; get specifics. True fiduciaries will give them to you. (Read more at AARP Saving and Investing)

Just Released: 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) released results on April 24 of the 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey, that assesses Americans confidence in their retirement prospects. This year’s survey also examined workers’ approaches to retirement savings and preparation, impact of debt on retirement, how retirees manage finances in retirement, usefulness of workplace education or financial well-being programs, and retiree interest in lifetime income products.

The survey report and supporting fact sheets for the 2018 survey are available  See the full report at

30th Anniversary Meals on Wheels Charity Golf Outing:

Come on out all you golfers on June 12, 2018 at Forest Akers West Golf Course, 3535 Forest Rd., Lansing.

With a 9am start, lunch at the turn, and an awards dinner and small auction, the event is popular and loads of fun. To register by phone or email, contact Casey at 517-887-1377 or

Registration flyer is available online to register as an individual golfer, team of two or four, or to attend the dinner & auction portion only (new option for 2018.)

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

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