50 Facts About NHRS
To mark our 50th anniversary in 2017, the retirement system has compiled “50 Facts About NHRS.” We are posting a new fact every Friday on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #FactFriday) and keeping a running list here.
No. 1: In 1967, the pension trust fund stood at $98 million (about $700 million in 2016 dollars). Today, the fund is more than $7.5 billion, most of which derives from investment income.
No. 2: At the close of the 2016 fiscal year, NHRS had 27 pension recipients who were 100 years old or older – two men and 25 women.
No. 3: When NHRS was created in 1967, the average cost of a new home was under $25,000 and it cost about $1.25 to see a movie. Tickets for the very first Super Bowl topped out at $12. The New England Patriots were headed into a 3-10-1 season and decades of futility and heartbreak. How things have changed!
No. 4: Until 1977, Group I Employee members were required by law to retire at age 70. By the end of the 2016 fiscal year, NHRS had 271 active Employee members working beyond age 70.
No. 5: For the first 10 years of NHRS’ existence, member contribution rates were assessed on a sliding scale based on age, and, for Group I only, gender. (“Mad Men,” anyone?) Generally, Group I female members paid a higher contribution than male members. For example, the contribution rate for a 25-year-old male Employee was 7.5%, while the rate for a 25-year-old female Employee was 8.95%. In 1977, legislation replaced the differentiated rates with flat contribution rates for Group I and Group II.
No. 6: Before NHRS was created, there were separate retirement systems for firefighters (established in 1939), police (1942), employees (1945) and teachers (1950).
No. 7: Legislation changed the calculation for Average Final Compensation (AFC) from the highest 5 years to the highest 3 years in 1973; Legislation in 2011 changed it back to 5 years for any member not vested prior to January 1, 2012.
No. 8: When everything was done manually, benefit calculation processes were tedious. In 1967, a Group I member’s benefit was calculated with as many steps as the member’s years of service. For example, a benefit calculation for a 30-year member would have 30 steps.
No. 9: In 1967, NHRS started out with just 10 employees. Today, there are currently 58 employees working for NHRS to provide secure retirement benefits and superior service for our members and retirees.
No. 10: The first NHRS discretionary investment advisor was hired in 1969, two years after NHRS was established. Today, NHRS has 60-plus external investment managers.
No. 11: At its beginning, NHRS had a total of only 36 pension recipients. 50 years later, we have 33,000 retirees or beneficiaries collecting an NHRS pension.
No. 12: Back in 1967, NHRS had 12,000 active members. In 2017, we have approximately 48,000 active, contributing members.
No. 13: NHRS was originally a division of the NH Department of Treasury. State Treasurer Robert Flanders asked Harry Descoteau, the state’s first Assistant State Treasurer, to assume the responsibility of day to day NHRS management in 1967.
No. 14: 23% of NHRS members work for the State of New Hampshire. (9,825 Group I employees, 1,042 Group II police/corrections officers, 62 Group II fire personnel).
No. 15: Prior to 1977, most Group I Teacher members were required by law to retire at age 65. At the close of the 2016 fiscal year, NHRS had 665 active Teacher members working beyond age 65, including 83 teachers age 70 and older.
No. 16: More than 61% of NHRS members are female (29,477 of 48,069). The Teacher population leads the way at 78% female.
No. 17: Since over 80% of NHRS pension recipients reside in New Hampshire, much of the money from those benefits helps to support the state's economy.
No. 18: Increasing from our original 11-member Board of Trustees, today’s Board consists of 13 members: 1 member from each of the four membership classes (Employee, Teacher, Police, and Fire), 4 employer representatives, 4 public members, and the State Treasurer.
Come back for a new fact next week, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.