Talk About a Long Liability!

I read with both interest and fascination an article in the WSJ today that mentioned that the last surviving Civil War pension recipient had just passed away. Irene Triplett was born in 1930. Her dad, Mose Triplett, was 83 when she was born. His wife at the time was nearly 50 years his junior. As a result of his military service, his daughter, who was 90 when she recently passed away, received a $73.13 monthly benefit from the Department of Veteran Affairs. The pension liability lasted 156 years! I’m not sure that is a record, but it has to be close.

One of the issues impacting pension America is the fact that pensioners, on average, are living longer, and as a result liability tables are being rewritten to account for this extended aging. That said, I doubt that anyone expected a pension liability earned in 1864 to extend to 2020.

When we at Ryan ALM ask for liability data – estimated benefits and contributions – we ask for a minimum of 20 years so that we can produce our Custom Liability Index (CLI). I guess that we will now need to rethink our request. Do we really need to get the actuary to forecast the next 150 years?

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