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Retirees: Pensions and retirement security are under attack: Tell us, what does your pension mean to you?

Comments: 11

I view my pension as a contract between myself and the State of Illinois. I had no choice but to be a part of it. Even so, I predicted the day would come when it would go broke. There is no way the baby boomers can be supported by the smaller bubble coming up behind them. I would suggest the unions and politicians come up with a viable and workable solution before the money is all completely gone. I don't want to be homeless and I have contributed enough I should not have to be. I would also suggest the AFT-IFT stop endorsing all Democratic candidates. They are the party that got us into this mess!

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Mark Schwendau
KCEA
Malta, IL

I planned from the start of my career as a teacher over 30 years ago on what I would have to retire and live reasonably(not lavishly). It has become apparent actually for some time that the state of Connecticut is not funding their retirement to the agreement and this is having a major impact. Obviously they are making up the difference by overestimating their return, 8% if I am not mistaken which is out of line with today's reality. This certainly needs to be addressed!

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Frederick Lucia
American Federation of teachers
Meriden, CT

When I became a teacher at 20 in 1960 my pay was $3,500. I loved the job. Each day was a new adventure, often in ways I couldn't have imagined. The bulk of my career was spent in New York City's worst junior and senior high schools. I collected several zip guns and knives from students during my first year - an education in itself. Yet motivating students, giving them a glimpse at different future, was a treasure I worked hard to achieve. As a teacher I earned two advanced degrees. As a divorced mother of three there was never a penny to spare. Today, without my pension I would be destitute. What is my pension? It is my life.

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Carol Polcovar
New York City
New York, NY

I worked conscientiously throughout my career, not thinking about a pension and trying to put away savings every year. I did not live extravagantly and hoped that with my savings and my pension my husband and I would be able to live comfortably. Since I retired, I have experienced stress related to the loss of income that would come if my pension were diminished or impaired. My husband and I have always done the right thing, and now our way of life is threatened by that loss of income. We still do not live extravagantly but would like to maintain a middle class existence which we have paid for and earned.

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Marjorie Sucansky
571
Woodridge, IL

My pension gives me freedom. Freedom to make choices about my life. It is my choice how much I work. My choice whether to take a vacation or to eat home or out. My choice to take care of my health. My choice to read or walk or swim. For 38 years I went to work and I did love helping children learn. But my choices were limited to the poor administration in Phila. They cared more about the bottom dollar than whether children actually learned. Yes I love my freedom.

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gail Stein
PFT
Huntingdon Valley, PA

When I retired, I was promised a benefit, which I have come to depend upon. I no longer have the ability to earn significant additional savings and am dependent upon my retirement benefits for my future needs. If the State makes major cuts to my benefit, I will need to drastically cut my standard of living. If I had been told ahead of time that I might need to assume more responsibility for my economic future, I would have done that, but I was not told that my benefit might be cut, and, therefore, I am not prepared, and this is grossly unfair.

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Walter Raczynski
571
Lombard, IL

i loved my job teaching,and was very good at it aCCORDING TO THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT MATTER, THE STUDENTS. it came to a point when i was losing my edge and I knew it was time to go at almost 40 years in a classroom. without my pension and social security i would have had to teach beyond my decision point because of the income. MY PENSION ENABLED ME TO MAKE A GRACEFUL EXIT WHEN I WAS LOSING EFFECTIVENESS. MAKING ROOM FOR A NEWER TEACHER WAS ESSENTIAL TO MAINTAINING EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE. my last contribution to education was knowing when to leave, making room for new teachers with new skills and ideas.

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PETER ROSENBLUTH
UFT #2, NYC
MEREDITH, NH

While I was working and contracts were being negotiated, I knew that I would not be working forever. We were willing to give up on some contract items in exchange for future benefits. Now I am seventy years old and very happy that we made those choices, despite some opposition from our owm members who wanted immediate pay raises. My wife and I now live our lives with some security that we can continue to pay our bills and relax as we get older. Some of my teacher friends who have also retired have thanked me and other negotiators for looking to the future and helping them into their senior years.

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Thomas Kaptor
8028R
Rehoboth Beach, DE

My retirement has made me able to continue living a good retirement style. I am not happy with your support of our President Obama and his politics. He uses child like punishment tactics with the rights of Arizona to protect themselves from illegal entry into our country. Our Borders have to be protected. He has taken away the federal assistance given under rule 287(g) and will not support his law inforcemnt agency because he didn't get his way. President Obama should stay in the Whitehouse and enforce the laws of the land which he promised to uphold when he took the office not continure to take away our individual rights.

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BARBARA FLEMING
SACHEM
WILMINGTON, NC

I was an English and Spanish teacher and I worked many, many long hours grading papers after school. I did above and beyond, sponsoring school newsletters, etc. without pay, sponsoring Spanish club before some of these things became paid extracurricular activities. I am very thankful to get my monthly pension and I feel very fortunate and appreciated for my dedication to this calling.

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Ella Reff
Blackford County Schools, Indiana
Muncie, IN

Pensions were hard won by Unions. They provide a hedge against the ups and downs of markets, and allow for more money to move through the economy, growing businesses and the middle class. Now, I see them under attack, and 401K's as the future. This will lock up funds into Wall Street, and not move the money into communities. I don't want that kind of insecurity. My retirement means that I am secure in the knowledge that I won't lose to the whims of Wall Street.

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Lisa Chaddock
1931
SAN DIEGO, CA

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