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Reflections of a Pensioner

The following are the reflections of an everyday pensioner on the changes being proposed to Your Pension Plan by the Government

  • When I was hired by the Province, my offer of employment included a mandatory contribution to the superannuation pension fund which was automatically taken out of my pay cheque. It was my understanding that my employer would also be making contributions on a regular basis as well.
  • I didn't mind the fact that I did not have a choice in this matter because I knew it was going into a fund that would be managed professionally and be there for me, along with a cost of living, when I retired. In essence, it was deferred compensation in return for the service I would provide as a member of the public service.
  • One reason I accepted employment with PNB was because it did offer great benefits - including a pension scheme.
  • I made a commitment to do my best at providing a service to the public and in return, I would make a mandatory contribution to my pension fund. My employer would also contribute to the fund so upon my retirement, I would be paid a monthly retirement pension drawing from the pool of money which we both contributed PLUS a cost of living increase.
  • The Province guaranteed my base benefit AND guaranteed indexation to CPI with a cap of 5%.
  • You are now saying that because retirees are living longer and the fund is in such dire straights because of world markets, etc. you can no longer keep your end of the agreement. I liken this to the following scenario: I have house insurance which I pay monthly premiums. My policy says that if my house burns, you (the insurance company) will pay me $100,000. One day my house does burn but my insurance company says, "I know we had an agreement but your premium money which we have been investing, has not been doing well and yesterday we re-wrote your insurance policy but we didn't negotiate the change or tell you about it and now we owe you nothing".
  • This is the same thing that's happening with my pension and indexation agreement I had with you. You have changed the terms of our agreement without negotiating with me!
  • Will moving to a Shared Risk Pension Plan make me live a shorter life? Will investing differently allow the fund to perform better? Why has the fund investments not been doing as well as it could? If changes were needed on where you invested my money, why weren't changes made under the NBIMC? They are very smart people who know what they're doing - will switching to a Board of Trustees do any better? If so, why do you think that?
  • In the latest PSSA Echo concerning the performance achieved by the fund manager: "The annualized real return (after adjusting for inflation) since inception of NBIMC is now 4.55%. This real return exceeds the 4.0% real return that the independent Actuary believes is required to achieve the Province's long-term goal of fully funded pension plan".
  • I have heard that switching to the Shared Risk model is a done deal - that there is nothing I can do about it. I have no say in what you are planning to do with my monthly pension and cost of living increase and that this will happen regardless of what I and thousands of my fellow pensioners think
  • You are singling out the most vunerable - Retirees have a Voice; Retirees Pay Taxes and Retirees are Faithful Voters!
  • We retired in good faith, made plans and commitments based on our agreed upon retirement pension. It is too late for us to go back to change investment decisions or to return to the workforce.
  • I do not ask for any more than what you promised and agreed to do. I want you to treat me fairly and equitably and do not single me out because I am in my senior years. Please have more respect for me than that!
  • You need to make these changes to the pension plan on a go-forward basis only as was recently done by the Ontario Teacher's Pension Board (future service only). Please grandfather in those of us who have already retired and with whom you have an agreement...you have time to do the right thing!

How can this be that my government would break MY trust. This is why I'm involved with the Pension Coalition NB...this is a Breach of Trust - plain and simple!  Get involved - visit www.pensioncoalitionnb.ca

Phyllis Prendergast