So you want to know something about pensions?

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Now anyone can become a local pension system expert… 

A stitch in time saves nine. But how much will the hole unravel before the seamstress gets the call?

We all know procrastination is a bad habit, but it’s far worse if the procrastinators are stewards of the public trust. For far too long, policy makers at all levels of government have avoided hard choices in favor of compromising the public’s future.

One of the most blatant examples of this decaying stewardship is the failure of governments to adequately fund pension plans at the time employees earn benefits and the expense is incurred. Leaders and legislatures all know that a day of reckoning must come for such irresponsible behavior, but it seems that they hope it will come on others’ watch.

As citizens, we must make it known that such imprudence will not be tolerated. Never again should a pension funding schedule be extended – and overall costs dramatically increased – to balance an operating budget.

You may sometimes ask yourself, just how bad is it? Will this pension avalanche hit my community? Are my elected officials doing their job to ensure that today’s decisions don’t impede tomorrow’s success?

And how does your local pension stack up to all the others?

Pioneer Institute wants to be sure you have the tools to answer those questions, so we are re-introducing This tool grades systems based on the number of years they have left before achieving full funding. It will show you measures like the funds’ assumed rate of return, asset allocation and investment performance based on the most recent publicly available data. It will also show the number of active and retired members in a plan and plan expenses, with a feature that allows you to compare the expenses of various plans.

And there is even detailed information on retirees in the Massachusetts State Employee and Teachers Retirement Plans, including pension amount, date retired and employer.

In short, MassPensions is a one-stop transparency shop for public pensions in Massachusetts. Let us help you hold our leaders accountable. A visit to will give you the data you need to engage in constructive dialogue. A healthy, fiscally sound future for our cities, towns and commonwealth depends on it.

About Pioneer

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.