Retirement System

MassHousing Retirement Newsletter - Autumn 2019

Don’t you just love being Retired?

This is the first newsletter from the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency Retirement System.

Yes, it’s taken us a while to get this done. Bernie O’Shaughnessy was the first to ask for a newsletter, and, of course, Nancy Fiske asks every year as well.

“What is going on in the Retirement world,” you ask? Let’s take a look!

We have added 30 retirees to the ranks since January 2017. When the Board’s Executive Secretary started in 2008, the monthly pension benefits paid out was about $217,000 for 87 retirees and survivors. Last month, we paid out just under $700,000 for 175 retirees and survivors. In 2008, our portfolio was estimated at $54.2 million. Fast-forward to the end of the 2nd Quarter 2019 and our system is now valued at $159 million. What a jump!!

COLA Increase

Now for some really good news! The MHFA Employees’ Retirement Board has approved a 3% COLA (cost of living allowance) effective July 1, 2019 for all eligible retirees and survivors of the system who retired on or before June 30, 2018. In addition, the Board has voted to increase the COLA Base from $13,000 to $15,000, which the MassHousing Board also voted to support. At the Retirement Board meeting, member Michael Fitzmaurice made the motion to approve and member Antonio Torres seconded. The vote was unanimous to provide retirees with the increase; also voting in favor were Chairperson Andris Silins, member Ping Yin Chai and member Paul T. Hynes. The 3% COLA applies up to the first $15,000 of the retirement allowance. Therefore, the maximum monthly COLA is $37.50/month.

The Retirement Board has a history of voting the maximum COLA of 3% each year and has voted to increase the base twice from the original base of $12,000. The Board understands the importance of the COLA to our retirees and beneficiaries, especially as the costs of health care and health insurance continue to rise. The Board also recognized the importance of not increasing the funding schedule. Therefore, we are still on schedule to be fully funded by FY2026.