If you attended the annual Conference, then perhaps some of this information will sound familiar. But with a PORAC membership count of over 75,000, it’s likely to be a first read for many of our members.
First, I’d like to welcome our newest trustee. His name is Brian Dutton, and he is the president of the Gilroy Police Officers’ Association. He joins us as the Region I trustee. We look forward to having Brian on our board as we enter 2020.
The PORAC Retiree Medical Trust is experiencing a period of growth, which is both very steady and quite strong. We have several California associations looking to join the Trust. Additionally, there is strong interest coming from the state of Oregon. A second Oregon association has negotiated the benefit, and it is anticipated that they will be joining in 2020. We are also working with a third Oregon group as they make their decision.
Our most recent group to join is the Arcadia Firefighters’ Association. They are led by President Brian Ursettie, who has spent many hours researching the benefits of the RMT. He has also worked tirelessly in negotiations with his city to help provide this benefit to his association members.
I went back into my emails and found the first exchange between the two of us, which happened in October 2016. So, from a period of initial interest until they finally fully joined, it took three years.
I want to thank Brian for hanging in there from start to finish. Your members will reap the rewards of your good planning. This will help them be ready for retirement.
A lengthy delay between a first inquiry and the end of the process is not uncommon, nor is it unexpected. It often just takes an incredible amount of time to complete the joining process. Unlike the other two PORAC trusts, participation in the RMT legally must be memorialized in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or a pay and benefits resolution (or similar labor agreement). If an association does not have a reopener, or if their employer is not cooperative, that means they might have to wait several years to negotiate their ability to join the RMT. When that occurs, we just hope and pray that interested associations have a leadership group willing to hang in there and look to the future for their members.
Speaking of the future — retirement is on the horizon for each and every one of us. For many, it might come faster than anticipated. That means you must get ready. You have to anticipate your needs and make preparations for that day. Not long ago, I was having a conversation with an officer who was nearing the end of his career. I asked him if he was excited about it. I won’t ever forget his answer. He said, “Retirement: ready or not, here I come.”
I thought to myself that “ready or not” may sound good on the surface, but “ready” is better. Not just by a little bit, but a whole lot better. Being ready typically generates better results in the end.
I really encourage you to consider how you are going to pay for your health insurance premiums and medical expenses once you retire. Once you become eligible for Medicare, that financial expense decreases quite a bit. But it doesn’t go to zero — not even close. Your government-paid medical plan comes with a cost. Multiply that by two if you have a spouse.
Under Medicare, you are still going to have expenses. A good question to ask yourself is how you intend to make the payment. The best scenario is with money that has never been taxed at any point in time. A tax-free benefit is what our Trust provides. Nontaxed money always stretches out further in the end.
To take advantage of an option like that, consider joining the RMT. Grab a piece of that anticipated lifetime benefit. Get yourself prepared. Make a plan. Be ready for retirement.
Ready is better.