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March 2, 2017 | Stocks at Historic Highs and Yet…Pension Bust Tsunami Hitting

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel (www.venablepark.com) Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog: www.jugglingdynamite.com

If ever there was a real world measure of how destructive the obsession with reckless asset inflation has been the past 20 years, it is the fact that even as stock and corporate bond prices are back near record highs, most households have massive savings deficits, and ‘working people’ pensions are running out of money left and right.

The Dallas Police and Firefighter Pension is teetering on collapse after being underfunded, used and abused by ‘advisers’ and fraudsters over the past 20 years.  This week the fund settled for a minuscule $2 million payment from their former real estate advisers who helped them lose $320 million (yes you are reading that number correctly, not a typo).  The board accepted the pittance in hopes that “the men who ran the firm” can help them go “after others who profited while it lost hundreds of millions of dollars”.

And Dallas is far from alone here.  A tsunami of shortfalls and insolvencies are hitting, as banksters and self-serving financial salespeople have extracted huge fees and left IOU’s in the till of pensions and savers all around the world. See more on others here:  Local 707’s once booming pension fund runs out of money after 20-year decline from deregulation and bad timing.

Also on the brink of drying up are the pensions for two Teamster locals — 641 and 560 — in New Jersey, union officials said. Plus 35,000 Teamster members upstate who are part of the money-hemorrhaging New York State Teamsters Pension Fund.

Bigger than all of New York’s Teamster locals combined is the Central States Pension Fund — another looming financial disaster that could leave 407,000 retirees without pensions across the Midwest and South.  And there’s still more beyond that, in various industries, officials say.

“It’s a nightmare, it has just devastated all of our lives. I’ve gone from having $48,000 a year to less than half that,” said Chmil, one of five Local 707 retirees who agreed to share their stories with the Daily News last week.

“I don’t want other people to have to go through this. We need everyone to wake up and do something; that’s why we’re talking,” said Ray Narvaez.

Unfortunately, many more people are going to have this rude awakening in the months and years ahead, as funds admit they are bust and benefits are slashed.  This will all serve as yet another drag on taxpayers, as well as consumer spending, and the economy for years to come.  Very painful to watch this unfold as the bad guys, so far, keep making off with their proceeds of crime.

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March 2nd, 2017

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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