Los Angeles comes out ahead in pension game

While California's retirement woes continue to mount - with lawsuits and lower-than-expected earnings in the state's public pension plans - the City of Los Angeles found a small spot of good news in its own retirement system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. came out looking very good in a review of pension funds and retiree health plans prepared by the Pew Charitable Trust, with a pension system that's 89 percent funded.

In a study of 61 major cities across the U.S., the Trust found that the average funding level was approxmately 74 percent, and the collective pension obligation totaled more than $217 billion.

More than half of the cities profiled were less than 80 percent funded, with the worst being Charlotte, N.C., whose pension system is just 24 percent funded.

Collectively, the cities profiled came up nearly $100 billion short for their pension obligations and $118 billion for long-term health care and other retiree benefits.

L.A. has set aside just over half of the money it will need to pay its own long-term retiree health care costs, though the Times notes the city is still far ahead of most others in that regard - more than half of those surveyed had saved no money at all for their health care costs.

Other major California cities had mixed results: San Francisco's pension is at a 97 percent funded status, but has less than a single percent saved for health care, and San Diego's system is approximately two-thirds funded, but is also drastically short on health care costs.


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