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                                      Peter Hapgood, Director of Education

 

A Window on the World – “It’s Deja-vu all over again!”

In the past twenty years, we’ve seen incredible change. Remember when we thought the Sony Walkman was a marvel?  Take a look at things that didn’t exist 20 years ago:

1) Internet, broadband

2) laptop computers

3) Mobile phones

4) E-mail

5) DNA testing and sequencing/Human genome mapping

6) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

8) Fiber Optics

9) Non-invasive laser/robotic surgery (laparoscopy)

10 GPS systems

11) Digital photography

12) ATMs

13) Bar-code scanners

It’s exciting, but challenging. Whole industries have come and gone like sand-dunes. For many people in the private sector, gone are the lifetime jobs and predictable returns that made pensions the backbone of retirement in America. Yet, some things are the same as they ever were.  Public services need to be met. Markets are cyclical.

How do we continue to safeguard our place in this new world?  How do we continue to provide the scaffolding that supports our country’s great need for public services when the architecture around us is so changed?   

We adapt.

In Florida, municipal pension plans have radically changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. The public cry for pension reform hit a crescendo after 2008, and recognizing what we had to lose, we gritted our teeth and began the painful shift to a retirement system that would be more sustainable. And we’ve done a great job!

But complacency is the enemy of safety.  At this year’s Annual Conference we will take a look back at the last twenty years to see what has changed – and what has remained the same.  What lessons have we learned about changes in the markets? and expected rates of return?  What types of increases are realistic in our benefits or wages?  How can we continue to effectively safeguard both the public and our pensions?

We hope you will join us for this very important look backward – and forward!