The fate of public pension plans, hard hit by extremely low returns on investments in the past few years, is expected to worsen this summer with even more bad news for those trusting in those systems for their retirement planning.

Reuters profiles the recent news that three of the nation's largest public pension funds have already announced nearly flat returns – ranging from the 1 percent earned by the massive CALPERS retirement system, to a paltry 1.8 percent for New York City's public pension funds - significantly lower than the standard 8 percent used to model investment earnings in most major systems.

Those higher targets are now seen as being highly unrealistic, given continued economic instability in Europe, record low interest rates and slow domestic growth.

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