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The Takeaway: New Retirement Savings Route; Discussing Weight With Kids; Ethics of Alzheimer’s and Divorce

Posted By Elizabeth Nolan Brown On September 16, 2011 @ 8:50 am In Bulletin Today | No Comments

300-pension-plan-state-privatePublic Pensions Go Much More Public: Jealous of your friends with state-funded pensions? With all the doom and gloom surrounding public employee retirement systems over the past several years, it’s hard to imagine many people clamoring to jump into the game-but the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems is banking on just that. The NCPERS this week proposed letting companies that lack their own employee pension plans buy into public retirement funds via the Secure Choice Pension. Employees would be fully vested immediately, and amounts contributed to the plans, plus earnings, would be guaranteed.

“Currently, there’s a retirement deficit of over $8 trillion… that stems from the lack of pensions in the private sector and small 401k accounts,” said NCPERS Executive Director Hank Kim, the architect of the plan, on Wednesday.

But but but … Aren’t public pension plans headed for disaster? According to Reuters, estimates of future public pension shortfalls range from $700 billion to $1 trillion, depending on how investment returns are estimated. But recently, the returns on investments have been rising, and the public retirement systems have grown for six quarters straight. “The vast majority of pension plans are well-funded,” said Kim.

What do you think-if you’re an employee without current access to a pension plan, would you want your company to sign up?

Not-So-Small Talk: Talking about weight with anyone can be awkward, but is it really so sensitive a subject that you can’t bring it up with your own children? For many parents, it is. A new survey conducted by WebMD and the nonprofit Sanford Health found parents would rather discuss the birds and the bees with their kids than obesity. About 25 percent of parents surveyed said they were hesitant to discuss weight issues with their kids, while only 10 percent felt uncomfortable discussing sex and 5 percent discussing alcohol, drugs and smoking with their children.

Is Alzheimer’s Grounds for Divorce? Christian icon Pat Robertson says yes. The broadcaster told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because the disease is “a kind of death,” so it doesn’t break the ’til death do us part marriage vow. Responding to a reader question about a friend whose wife had the disease, Robertson said:

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”

I’m not even gonna comment on this one-but I’d love to hear your opinion!

Friday Quick Hits: U.S. lung cancer rates are falling, led by Western states … Raised skin on eyelids can be an indicator of heart problems … Medicare advantage premiums are dropping by about $1.50 per month … John Boehner has offered his own jobs plan, which includes lowering the corporate tax rate and rolling back environmental and labor regulations … And older NYC women form the Caring Collaborative to help one another with “short-term, non-emergency caregiving, like pet care, meal and prescription delivery, hospital visits and escorted medical appointments.”

See “In the News” for more on current events, entertainment and how it all relates to you.

(Photo: Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images)

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