Comment: We’ve hesitated before to publish some of these technical pieces by actuary Mary Pat Campbell, but our readers love them and they get lots of pageviews. Nice to have readers who aren’t afraid of a little math.

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Andrew Szakmary
3 years ago

When someone starts at the peak of the dot com bubble in the year 2000 to see whether actual returns have met assumed returns, then I know that this is someone with a particular agenda who is cherry-picking base years. Why not start in 1990, or 1980, or 1970? Perhaps because if one did, it would inconveniently show that average realized returns exceeded assumed returns? I do, however, commend Mary Pat for noting, in the first chart, that Chicago’s pension contributions as a percent of payroll were way below the national average in every year between 2001 and 2013. I… Read more »

3 years ago

If you actually read my post, then you would know the reason I use 2001 as my starting point is that’s what the Public Pensions Database starts with. I’d love to have the data easily available going back to the 1950s even… but the dollar-weighted return is very likely to be close to what I posted for some obvious reasons (namely: much larger cash flows in recent years). I’ve had to build up some of my analysis as a hobby through manual entry from looking at CAFRs, but I’m not doing this for decades’ worth of data for free. There… Read more »