Money Rules for Marriage the Second

There are some things in life where you really, really hope the first time is a charm — marriage, declaring a college major, and bungee-jumping, for example.

Most parents will tolerate a few academic false starts (or force you to pick up the tuition tab for the fifth, sixth, and seventh years). And every bungee instructor will quadruple-check your harness.

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Yet despite the staggering rate at which official couplings go splat, many people make multiple attempts at marriage. Even in the best of circumstances, those who have been hitched (formally or not) drag more than just half of a CD collection and in-law issues down the aisle. They also bring into their relationships a full trunk of financial baggage that can’t be kicked curbside.

Money details for do-oversIf your first coupling wasn’t happily ever after, there are things to do to get it right the second time around.

Dredge up the past: Yes, you need to have “the talk.” No, it doesn’t have to be squirmy and painful. [Read the full article]

Lawmakers considered a bill Thursday to give the Missouri state auditor legal authority to monitor state pension systems.

The bill comes in response to a recent court ruling that found the state auditor only has the authority to review internal audits completed by the pension systems. A Cole County Circuit Court judge quashed a subpoena from the auditor to review more documents and interview employees with the state’s Local Government Employee’s Retirement System.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, told the Senate pensions committee that many other state retirement systems allow the auditor to perform a full audit despite the ambiguous language.

State Auditor Susan Montee said Missouri has performed audits on pension funds without a problem since the 1980s, but it is better to clean up the language.

The state auditor goes beyond a simple fiscal audit to examine whether agencies spend money properly. [Read the full article]

Florida’s $127 billion public employee pension fund is a national leader but the state’s non-pension health care plan for retirees needs improvement, says a report issued Thursday by the Pew Center on the States.

It praises Florida’s management of long-term pension liability, noting Florida is one of just three states with more pension assets than accrued liability, funding 101 percent of its total pension obligation. The other states are New York and Washington.

Florida is well above the 80 percent national benchmark that the U.S. Government Accountability Office says is preferred by experts, according to the Pew report.

“Florida should be applauded for its efforts to cover the long-term costs of pensions for the public sector employee benefits, but the state is coming up short in saving for retiree health care,” said Pew managing director Susan Urahn. [Read the full article]

Just as they are contending with massive gaps in their operating budgets, states and localities must also deal with a $1 trillion deficit in public employees’ retirement benefits’ funds, a new report found.

The shortfall amounts to more than $8,800 for every household in the nation, according to the Pew Center on the States, which published its findings Thursday.

States largely got themselves into this mess by failing to make annual contributions while also enhancing benefits, the study found. Now, they are behind by a total $452 billion in their pension accounts and $555 billion in their retiree health funds, as of the end of fiscal 2008, which ended June 30 for most states.

The deficit is likely even more severe because the report did not take into account the crumbling of the stock market in the latter half of 2008. The typical pension plan lost 25% of its value in 2008. [Read the full article]

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