4/12/2014 San Francisco Giants vs Colorado Rockies (link to pictures on Flickr)
Matt Cain brought his command of the strike zone, but the Giants offense could not get it going against Rockies pitching. There were opportunities late in the game. The Giants left the bases loaded as Pablo struck out to end the threat and the inning.
This was the first game of the season where the offense really could not get runs across the plate. It was good to see Matt pound the strike zone. I think the offense will show up and deliver in his next appearance. The Giants look to even the series today with Mark Hudson taking the mound.
I’m ready for park! Let’s go!
I’m hanging out with my friend Louie. We have been out to the park a couple times already. Once to Capitol Park and then over to Fremont Park. The grass is long and tasty, I guess. If not tasty Louie was just trying to help out the city and do a little mowing. Louie is a pretty easy guest. Walks, food, naps and watching the San Francisco Giants is all he wants.
I applied for the Amtrak residency program. I write about lots of things on this blog. I like to write. If I was chosen for the Amtrak residency program, I would spend most of my time writing about the small towns I pass through and the scenry encountered. I would write about the food eaten in the diner. I would write about the journey.
Every little place you pass through on Amtrak has a story. If you don’t live in these places you really don’t know what that story is. A few pictures as Amtrak passes through can provide a small glimpse into places most Americans never see. These jewels scattered across America are bypassed by freeways and only their exit signs are seen as drivers focus on getting to their final destinations. I won’t complete a novel or even start one, but I can share a story. A simple story about getting away from the work routine for a few days.
The story of my 2-5 day adventure would be told on this blog. A story of Amtrak adventure. A story of fun. A story of meeting people. A story of good food. A story of seeing part of America on Amtrak. All Aboard!!!
As workers get older and closer to retirement they are advised to look at their savings plans and consider a more conservative approach to investing. Specifically the advise is to have less risky bonds in their 401/457 accounts and a smaller percentage of risky stocks. The percentage varies depending on who is giving the advise, but basically the percentages are reversed compared to when workers are in early stages of their careers.
How about Public Employee Retirement systems? Shouldn’t they be following their own advise as a higher percentage of workers become closer to retirement age and a higher percentage of members are retired compared to actively working? It is easy to understand why portfolios are higher in stocks than bonds, especially in 2014. Most systems are trying to make up losses from the Great Recession. They are also trying to avoid raising rates for employers and employees. There is risk to this approach. The risk is another downside market and larger losses associated with riskier investments.
What is the solution? Ha, I am no expert on this and will just throw out one opinion that will not be popular. This opinion implies that Public Employee Retirement Systems reduce risk by virtually reversing their holdings of stocks vs bonds. Currently they are as high as 70% stocks and 30% bond holdings. Here is one bloggers suggestion to make up for the loss of returns associated with a conservative portfolio:
- Employees and employers will need to pay more into the systems to make up for the reduced returns. Employees currently pay around 8%. Should that double? Ouch, very unpopular.
- Retirement ages need to rise to match increasing life spans. If an employee retires tomorrow at 60 years old the odds are greater than expected he/she may collect benefits for 20-30 years.
- And the most unpopular option is reducing benefits. Cutting benefits for future hires would be easier for the unions to go along with and help avoid long political fights. These cuts need to be calculated so they don’t make recruiting talent more difficult. We need to be careful or we may convince talent to shop the private sector job market and not even look at public service.
The sooner action is taken the better. Acting now could avoid taking drastic actions later. It is much better to act now than to react during a crisis. To reduce the chances of larger losses during the next recession Public Retirement systems should not kick this can down the road.