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Teachers should exercise caution [letter] | Letters To The Editor

The story that appeared on Page A3 of the Aug. 7 Sunday LNP | LancasterOnline (“Report shows where PSERS money goes,” The Philadelphia Inquirer) should scare every teacher in Pennsylvania!

The article describes how the state’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System invests teachers’ retirement money. Since we (taxpayers) pay teachers via school taxes, it should make us angry too. I believe it is the epitome of dumb, dumber, dumbest.

Dumb? The retirement system’s past and current investments include hedge funds, junk bonds and troubled European companies, which is dumb. Chasing unrealistically high returns carries high risk. Translation: You’re a dumb investor if you use this casino gambling approach to managing retirement money.

Dumber? The retirement system’s board used paid consultants to identify investment opportunities. Do you know what competent financial advisers do? For a fee, they conservatively manage retirement money. I believe that it’s dumb to pay a consultant and then turn around and pay a financial adviser. That’s paying twice. There’s no added value in using investment consultants.

Dumbest? In my view, the makeup of the retirement system’s 15-person board ensures bad investment decisions. Why? Because I believe that Gov. Tom Wolf’s appointments are married to union votes and that teachers union representatives are union “robots” when it comes to decision-making.

All of this is why it’s no surprise that the retirement system “blamed the agency’s hedging strategy for missing out on the bull stock market that ran most years from 2009 to 2021,” according to the Inquirer.

If I were a teacher, I’d be scared. The dumb, dumber and dumbest are all in action.

Bill Kleine

Pequea Township

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