Double DB® – Answers To Your Questions

Earlier this week we shared with you the virtues of Double DB® and encouraged you to reach out with any questions.  I am very pleased with the response that we’ve gotten.

As a reminder, a group of us have confronted two important pension issues: pension cost volatility and resultant perilous pension indebtedness due to prior underfunding (see Illinois, NJ, and a host of other plans).

We have developed an over-arching, patent pending answer to all of it – Double DB®, which;
(1) Provides pensions, not “employee accessible” cash.
(2) Is “percentage of payroll” financed.
(3) Easily “manages” debt from past underfunding.

Here are some of your questions.

Q: How do you manage debt from past underfunding of a traditional DB plan?

Have the plan actuary determine the percentage of payroll expected to finance the plan debt in 30 years based on the actuary’s estimate of the rate of growth in the underlying payroll and the estimate of the rate of growth of the debt. Plan to allocate this percentage of payroll to debt financing every year. If it turns out that more or less than 30 years is required, simply accept the longer or shorter term or adjust the allocated percentage of payroll along the way.

Q: How do you fund and manage Double DB®?

Have the actuary determine the percentage of payroll needed to finance future service benefits of the plan. Plan to pay this percentage of payroll in every future year. In the first year, plan to place one half into a trust fund identified as DB1 and the other half into a trust fund identified as DB2. In the second and each future year, place the then actuarial cost of half of the future service benefit cost into DB1 and the remainder into DB2. Accordingly, one half of the future costs of the plan will always be financed on an actuarially sound basis within DB1, while DB2 will have assets reflecting the extent that experience is more favorable or less favorable than expected at the outset.

Q: What benefit can the employee expect to receive?

In each year of retirement a pensioner will receive one half the scheduled plan benefit from DB1 and an experience modified variation of the scheduled plan benefit from DB2. If an entering plan participant would prefer to have a level benefit rather than the two-part benefit as described, he/she may elect an option to receive, say, 90% of DB1 benefits from DB2 and thereby receiving 95% of the benefit value to which he/she is entitled in retirement. Accordingly, the DB2 component of the plan will be provided a 10% “fee” for taking the risk of paying a larger benefit than the benefit to which the pensioner was entitled over the years of retirement. The 90% component can be more than 90% if the actuary for the plan is satisfied that a higher percentage is justified based on his/her appraisal of the risk.

We thank you for your continued interest.  Please don’t hesitate to bring additional questions to our attention.

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