"What is the difference between private sector accounting and public sector accounting?"
Der, uh, how am I supposed to know? I'm not an accountant!
"You've basically been explaining it this whole time."
I have? You mean I'm not a complete idiot? Am I still in the running? Or at least in the walking?
"Public sector accounting is fund accounting."
Here's a question for you, my internet friends: what is Retirement Fund Accounting?
Here's my answer: The kind of accounting that punishes innocent hard-working individuals for something that the government did, or did not do.
Criteria: The CNMI government should remit its full share of required employer contributions to the retirement fund in a timely manner. Failure to do so will result in additional penalty fees and interest.For those of you who think, no problem, I will be eligible to retire soon enough, I won't ever need to withdraw my contributions, I'll just retire - well I've been told that you can't retire unless all of your employer contributions are paid in full. And we know they aren't, so...
Condition: The CNMI government has not remitted its full share of required employer contributions to the retirement fund over the course of several years. Additionally, the CNMI government has not made any payments toward assessed penalty fees or interest.
Cause: Greedy bureaucrats and fiscal mismanagement.
Effect: The Fund will not process applications for member contribution withdrawals until the Fund is no longer in a fiscal emergency. So if you work for the government and something happens that is out of your control that forces you to resign after September 1, 2009, you will not be able to withdraw the money that was required to be withheld from your paycheck and remitted to the Fund. Your hard earned money that could be withdrawn and redeposited into a 401K plan if you leave island or switch employers will no longer be available to you. Your hard earned money that could be withdrawn and used for whatever purpose you choose, because it's YOUR money, will no longer be available to you.
Recommendation: Tell the Fund what you think at their public hearing on Wednesday, August 26, at 6:30 p.m. I believe it will be held at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. For more information, call the Retirement Fund at 322-3863.
(For more info on upcoming public hearings, go here.)
The Fund already won their lawsuit against the CNMI government. So why do they now have to punish their members? They already won! I understand the Retirement Fund Board's position, I really do. I understand that they need to keep as much real money as possible in the Fund because they have an outrageous unfunded liability. I get it, I do. But they already won!
Let's say I leave the government and withdraw my money, all the employer contributions owed for my employment will still be owed to the Fund, and hopefully, someday it will all be paid to the Fund, which would actually be better for them. Because if I leave the government and withdraw my measly so many thousands of dollars, they will still (hopefully) collect what is owed them by the government and they won't have to worry about paying out my retirement pension. Which, under my current Defined Benefit plan, would be an annuity until I die; and then it would continue as an annuity to my dependents until they die. And if all that happened, they would certainly be paying out more than they received for me.
I'm not planning on retiring any time soon, nor am I planning on quitting my new and very fulfilling job. But I still disagree with this policy. I know of three people who quit their jobs this month in order to withdraw their money, because if they don't do it now, they will probably lose their money altogether. (Note that if you quit now, you will probably not meet the September 1st deadline. You have to receive your final paycheck before you apply for your contribution withdrawal.)
Don't you think the least the Fund could do for us is re-open enrollment in the DC plan?