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Thursday, May 1, 2014

tcp1 looking good

I just received my annual TCP-1 letter from LLNS and a summary of the LLNS Pension Plan.

Looked in pretty good shape in 2013.

About 35% overfunded (funding target attainment percentage = 134.92%). This was a decrease from 2012 where it was 51% overfunded (funding target attainment percentage = 151.59%).

They did note that the 2012 change in the law on how liabilities are calculated using interest rates improved the plan's position. Without the change the funding target attainment percentages would have been 118% (2012) and 105% (2013).

2013 assets = $2,057,866,902
2013 liabilities = $1,525,162,784

vs

2012 assets = $1,844,924,947
2012 liabilities = $1,217,043,150

It was also noted that a slightly different calculation method ("fair market value") designed to show a clearer picture of the plan' status as December 31, 2013 had;

Assets = $2,403,098,433
Liabilities = $2,068,984,256
Funding ratio = 116.15%

Its a closed plan with 3,781 participants. Of that number, 3,151 were active members, 307 were retired/separated and getting benefits, and 323 were retired/separated and entitled to future benefits.

Bottom line; no increase in employee contributions but no reduction either.

Of interest they did note that in 2013 LLNS contributed $38.6 million more than the minimal required by law, and that may be used to offset future minimum employer contributions.

107 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Its a closed plan with 3,781 participants. Of that number, 3,151 were active members, 307 were retired/separated and getting benefits, and 323 were retired/separated and entitled to future benefits."

Sounds a lot like a Ponzi scheme.

Anonymous said...

Then you don't know what a Ponzi scheme is.

The whole point of this post is that the system contains contains enough funds right now to pay all of its commitments right now. If all 3400 non-retired people retired today (and quit paying into the plan) there's enough money to provide the promised benefits.

If that sounds like a Ponzi scheme to you, then you need to go to the wikipedia page on ponzi schemes and get some education.

Idiot.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, I can hear the veins popping from here. This blog is a good barometer of the stress people at the lab feel - either that or there's just one lone sociopath who keeps posting angry vitriol.

Anonymous said...

If that sounds like a Ponzi scheme to you, then you need to go to the wikipedia page on ponzi schemes and get some education.

May 1, 2014 at 8:42 AM


You should be the last one to "retire".

Anonymous said...

You should be the last one to "retire".

May 1, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. Step out of line, the men come and take you away.

Anonymous said...

It's not me that I'm worried about, They are coming for you, I think.

Anonymous said...

Keep drinking the kool-aide, your pension will be there when you retire in 20 years, all is well, all is good, the system is solvent and people care about you...

Anonymous said...

They are coming for you, I think.

May 1, 2014 at 8:39 PM

They're coming to take me away Ha Ha
They're coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
and they're coming to take me away ha ha

Anonymous said...

Keep drinking the kool-aide

May 1, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Stupidity and paranoia are a deadly combination. If you don't like to trust anything or anyone, just go back into your hole. I'm sure the damp, nasty place will make you feel right at home. Personally, I think a nice jello made with Kool-aid goes great with my brisket barbeque and some vinegar-dressed potato salad. And, of course, a great chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

Anonymous said...

"A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the operator."

Sounds about right. How are those payroll deductions working out for you?

Anonymous said...

You think the LLNS 401k investments are "fraudulent"? Ain't anonymous slander great?

Anonymous said...

The key to a Ponzi scheme is "new investors", whereas TCP1 is closed and doing just fine, thank you very much.

But don't let that stop the paranoia.

Anonymous said...

I guess it could be paranoia, but I bet it is the desire to instill paranoia based on jealousy.

Anonymous said...

Pensions are for hard working folks interested societal improvement. e.g. LLNS and BART workers. Both well over- paid and weight.
LLNS employees don't know how much they are pampered, but will still complain.

Anonymous said...

Pensions were instituted broadly in the economic boom after WWII (as were health insurance benefits) to attract employees when good employees were scarce. Both are now going out of favor, as it is an employer's market in today's economy. Failure of employers to continue a long-established benefit does not constitute "pampering" of employees who still get such benefits. They are simply lucky, and must recognize they are the last to get such perks.

Anonymous said...

First: The salaries and benefits one gets at the lab for the obvious low expectations of accomplishment is indeed pampering. Anywhere else in the bay area, people would have to produce for such benefits. Just because one is lucky does not mean one is not lazy.

Second: The bay area is more often than naught an employees market. Talented employees work for pure salary (salary + stock options) up front for several years, and then move on once vested.

Slimboney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So, I gather it's ok for Corporate America and the US Government it commit breach of contract and breach of good faith with dashes of age discrimination? Then call LLNL workers with 25 to 40 years of service to their country, lucky ?

Meanwhile ULM's retire, then to double and triple dip.

These long term plans at LLNL have been well thought out well before 2007. If mistakes are made along the way the ULM rules are rewritten on the fly as necessary to contain mistakes in planning. LLNS lied from the beginning before Oct, 2007 as early as August, 2007 if not before rest assured.

Carpet bagger Bechtel mangers work five years to promptly leave vested. Look, the middle-class are being marginalized like never before in the so-called "new normal". Ok for the elite making single, double, triple digit millions some billions since they really deserve it, hey.

Everyone who ever works or worked for the Lab have been marginalized by the LLNS, LLC in some way. As Corp America has learnt profit by sending jobs off-shore. The DOE Labs would do it if they could. Sure worked well for that Snowdance character in the contract worker situation format who thought he was clever enough to think others care about truth. Jest saying. Welcome to wherever you are whenever you're there, hello. No worries they will rebuild it when they need it. History repeating.

Anonymous said...

Both TCP-1 and TCP-2 people need to enjoy what they have. You are the last defined pension programs this nation will ever have. I'm just glad I have mind and hope it holds for another 40 more years and SS and Medicare don't go away. The choices we make dictate the life we lead.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how people here find the pension, SS and medicare the most important part of the job.

Valuable workers know they are valuable and have the skill sets to maximize their wallets here and now, not sit idle until retirement "hoping" their subsidized payout is still their.

The average worker at the lab is not only sub-par in talent, but also attitude.



Anonymous said...

Valuable workers know they are valuable and have the skill sets to maximize their wallets here and now, not sit idle until retirement "hoping" their subsidized payout is still their.

May 3, 2014 at 7:51 AM

This exactly. And the pension meanwhile amounts to golden handcuffs, and also motivates the sub-par workers to break out the kitchen knives when money gets tight. Which is exactly what has been happening over the past year-plus.

Anonymous said...

Well given that, you can say the average worker in good'ol USA is sub-par per dollar vs. some poor citizen in Mondova per dollar output. There are those at the Lab who are top shelf people. The Lab has a population that maps to the gaussian curve. ULM would like to think those numbers in the work force have a skew toward the "brightest and the best". ULM says it all the time. I wager compare to the average person in society they'd be right. Compared to the average student at MIT perhaps not.

It's all relative.

So, far as maximizing the wallet. I beg to differ. Fed's say there is no inflation. Really ? The average citizen's budget has gone up not down just paying for stuff they must pay. Since the great recession, we've seen nothing, but increased costs. The only maximizing of the wallets are from societie's so-called 1%. Surely, they've earned every fat dollar. For some the great recession is not over.

Hope-ium isn't a plan. If you're into "running the numbers" students are paying more for a basic education and left with a rather large bill for that education. Guess what, the recent run-up in real estate about 23% is not from an increase in middle class buying property. It's corporations and investors buying many of these homes. They're the ones getting 1% loans not folks on main street. Banks and credit are still tight relative to per 2007 levels.

The average savings is earning 0.10% at big banks. 0.80% if you hunt for stable FDIC online. Future costs are truly uncertain in this demographics shift that has been happening. Those who have been working a long FTE career at the Lab may have elderly parents perhaps in their 90's, etc. The real cost of care in Nursing Homes is $5,000 to 7,000 per month. That realization alone is an eye opener if your parents had to give up their home and meager wealth to live out the rest of their lives.

If filling a wallet with fat one dollar bills pays the ticket then so be it, but that's not real costs in the USA. Further more the state of California has a much higher cost of living. It's gawd dang down right frightening.

Yes, for those in TCP1 or TCP2 it is good. Wages haven't gone up that crazy much if not at all. Recently, LLNLS sent out a Health and Welfare Benefit Plan for Retirees Summary Plan Description Effective Jan 1, 2014. It states :

" Nothing in the Plan and/or this SPD shall be construed as giving any participant the right to be retained in service with LLNS or any affiliated company, or as a guarantee of any rights or benefits under the Plan. LLNS, in it's sole discretion, reserves the right to amend or terminate in writing at any time the Plan, SPD and/or any Benefit Program. No benefit described in the Plan will be considered to "vest". "

No worries, just keep working if you can or ULM's let you. Work force participation is at a 36 year low of 62.8%. Stay young. Stay thirsty my friends.

Anonymous said...

TCP2 is a 401K plan, a good one, but strictly cash now that you invest as you wish. It's no different from what most companies offer, except it is pretty generous (though big companies often also offer stock options that can be worth a lot more). TCP1 is the pension plan. Many TCP2 people kept their pension plan, whatever it was worth, with UC. And all have seen spectacular returns since it was created.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but still, the expectation and work required is well below what is expected on the outside. No one can argue with this.

Jim Adams said...

Normally I wouldn't leave a comment, but I can't stand it when people badmouth the workers at LLNL. So I want to let the people know a real fact. I am a machinist at LLNL and I have worked in other shops in the real world before coming to the Lab. When I came to the Lab I was very impressed with the highly talented machinists working there. The machinists at the Lab were far more skilled than the average machinist on the outside. I don't know about everyone at the Lab, but I do know all the machinists are highly skilled, work very hard, and take pride in doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

The other thing about working at LLNL not too many mention vs so-called out side world. Lets use case of technicians, machinists or IT guys. Working at Lab requires one to hold a Q-Clearance or some sort of badge. That requires you and your family into some complexities upon reviews. Other things as simple as reporting going though a "red" traffic light or expensive ticket must be reported to DOE. You need to report divorces and new marriages or live-in partners.

Many similar outside jobs don't require this additional reporting. In addition, there are all kinds of classes that are required by DOE that are mostly security extras time weights. Required effort outside your field. If you've been at LLNL any length of time this list is only growing with all the oversight that seems to grow over time.

You don't get paid extra for complying with requirements. Deal is bottom line don't like you can leave, period.

Anonymous said...

May 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM


You have to understand that the laws of logic dictate that I must say bad things about the workforce. Perhaps I use to work the lab and my genius was not recognized. Perhaps they said that I lacked skills or I could not accomplish anything. Yet I knew I was better than all of them. Perhaps I was let go, but this was because they where so lazy and weak minded that could not stand the sight of one as brilliant as myself. Now let us do the math, I am brilliant and unique yet the lab could not recognize this, therefore the only solution is that the people at the labs are stupid and low quality. Q.E.D

There are times when even I have doubts and I must go to this blog to remind those people what they are. But in case you think I am bitter, I am not bitter...no sir, not one bit, I never think about that...ever. I do not let it get to me or consume so much that I have to go post on this and other blogs every day to say how I am not bitter.

Anonymous said...

Look, let's be honest. The talent has left, e.g. early 90s to LBL, and recently there's been a low profile, but significant brain drain.

What this does is move up those who can't leave. Yes, LLNL has (or had) some extremely talented techs, but without competent leadership, this all goes to waste. IF those talented can't see what the lab has become and leave, then just hold out for pension. Pathetic.

But for those of you who think LLNL employees are the creme of the crop, tell me which area LLNL leads and I will retort appropriately.

Anonymous said...

tell me which area LLNL leads and I will retort appropriately.

May 3, 2014 at 6:53 PM

No thanks. Not interested in your "retort."

Jim Adams said...

I am sorry I left a comment on this blog. I didn't realize that at least some of the " anonymous" people on here are wack jobs. I was freaked out by a couple of responses. No offence to the normal people on here, but I do hope the anonymous people on here that need some mental help can get it. This will be the last time I visit this sight. Cheers

Anonymous said...

The most important things in life besides your family are ( pension i.e retirement), Medicare and SS. The rest is BS and YOU will never be remembered for anything. You are just a number on a computer printout. If you're smart you'll be working towards retirement from the day you start working not when you're 50 and realizing OMG where's the $2.2M I need in my 401k so I can get the hell out of this place.

Anonymous said...

Well that sounds like a lab worker attitude alright. If going to work sucks so much that the only value is one day closer to retirement, and if you think you really are just a number, then it might just be time to quit. Somewhere (else) there is a job that you look forward to every morning, and is rewarding because you are driving it and making it rewarding. Don't wait to become a bitter psychotic like some of the other posters on this blog...

Anonymous said...

May 4, 2014 at 6:44 AM

Nice sentiment. Almost everyone I know who is still working feels that way. However, you only need to be retired a short time to realize that if while working, you defined yourself solely in terms of your career, your work achievements, and your professional position, you made a HUGE mistake.

People should pay attention to May 4, 2014 at 5:47 AM. I see two kinds of retirees; one is happy to focus on the truly enduring, important things in life, the other is lost when all of his elements of self-definition vanish overnight. Which will you be?

Anonymous said...

The other way of looking at it is that one is happy that he left a job that he hated (and probably wasn't very good at), and the other is sad that he is no longer doing things that he loved (and probably was very good at).

Anonymous said...

Fact under oath LLNL' HR Art Wong said "The Oct, 2007 LLNS, LLC business model was by design a hostile corporate take-over." There was very little consideration given to long--time FTE and long time plans in place. It was about disruption. My GL, a first line manager in Nov, 2007 said "LLNL used to be a great place to work". The mass FTE layoffs conducted in to May, 2008 were as stressful as a hijack of breach of contract and good faith. All these people followed orders given from the top in trickle down fashion.

Under all sorts of circumstances, some of those people affected went bankrupt if you didn't have PlanB or C in place quickly. The freezing of the "original" UC Plans into TCP 1 & 2 compromised everyone's future plans. Adjustments had to be made. True layoff plans were conducted in tight secrecy. New layoff regrouping titles were created independently in all PAD's without employee knowledge. These events were bound to create an environment of mistrust and a shift in gracious attitude of the Lab's working class.

How does an employee feel when you read a UC News letter and it says "Does not apply to LLNL or LANL" ? You're now part of the substantially equivalent regime.

The plan was to clean house of the old FTE model. In time, one day LLNL will have only new model employees who have no history pre-Oct, 2007. Those will look forward to "each bright and shiny day working" under the new regime. Under the laws of sovereign immunity it is so.

Have some tolerance how people and attitudes were affected by the LLNS' corp take-over.

After Director Miller retired these facts were stated more clearly how LLC changes were not for the better of LLNL quality science and service to the country and for profit cost structures.

Anonymous said...

Unless and until DOE makes senior LLNS management individually accountable, they will continue to play a shell game of accountability. Until that time, "a breach of contract and good faith" concerns LLNS not. It is only a candle employees hold with minimal success of late (2008 forward).

Anonymous said...

"The other way of looking at it is that one is happy that he left a job that he hated (and probably wasn't very good at), and the other is sad that he is no longer doing things that he loved (and probably was very good at).

May 4, 2014 at 10:41 AM"

The thing is LLNLs does not care if you love your job or you are good at it. They want the profit and the way the contract is written doing outstanding work is irrelevant. Just do the bare minimum for the job and stay secure and safe and bonuses come in. There is no incentive to do an outstanding job so it is not encouraged , it is not wanted, and if you try it than you are not a team player. Sorry but this is what the labs are about.

Anonymous said...

Just do the bare minimum for the job and stay secure and safe and bonuses come in.

May 4, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Bonuses come in from where?? You are an idiot. Bonuses come from award fee, which comes from achieving performance objectives under the contract, which comes from people doing work. No work, no award fee, and the contract gets lost - new contractor. Try to get some education before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

The other way of looking at it is that one is happy that he left a job that he hated (and probably wasn't very good at), and the other is sad that he is no longer doing things that he loved (and probably was very good at).

May 4, 2014 at 10:41 AM

This is the attitude of an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk - the lab is full of them. You'll get your comeuppance, sonny boy. Just wait. You are nowhere near as important as you think you are. The day after you retire (no matter how "good" you were at your job), no one will remember you. Get ready for that by figuring out what is of enduring importance in your life after work.

Anonymous said...


"Bonuses come in from where?? You are an idiot. Bonuses come from award fee, which comes from achieving performance objectives under the contract, which comes from people doing work. No work, no award fee, and the contract gets lost - new contractor. Try to get some education before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

May 4, 2014 at 7:12 PM"

No you are a true freaking idiot. Reread the post, and reread it after that, if you still think the same thing than try again the next day and so on. Yes a "portion" of the bonus comes from actual work, but that work needs to be just good enough. Going above and beyond and achieving excellence does not add to the bonus or count toward the current bonus. On top of this a large portion was put on safety and security which is a good thing but however there is no place in the contract for rewarding excellence. Someone said that if one looked closley at the wording of the contract that if no one ever showed up for work in any single year that LLNs would still get 50% of the bonus. The way contract is written is that it is only about punishment and not reward. In many ways the workforce are can be seen more as liabilities than anything else.

This point by the way is not my own and was already brought up by by several review panels and the DOE. This is one of the reasons that they are thinking about a rebid and a new contract.

Anonymous said...

"This is the attitude of an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk - the lab is full of them. You'll get your comeuppance, sonny boy. Just wait. You are nowhere near as important as you think you are. The day after you retire (no matter how "good" you were at your job), no one will remember you. Get ready for that by figuring out what is of enduring importance in your life after work.

May 4, 2014 at 7:18 PM"

First of all I agree with you in the sense that there are truly important things in life. I also think that one can enjoy and be very good at the jobs and still be very happy when they decide to leave or retire.

What I disagree with you is on your attitude that people do not matter by your statement.

"The day after you retire (no matter how "good" you were at your job), no one will remember you. "

This sounds like an attitude I have heard from managers about people leaving the labs. I heard this 10 years ago, and since that time a number of really great people have left the labs. By any measure and any assessment from the outside professional community both LLNL and LANL are seen to be of lower quality today than they where 10 years ago. I am not saying the current labs are bad places or that we are of low quality but is without doubt that we are not at the level or even the same institution we use to be. The lesson is that people do matter, they are missed very badly and they could not simply be replaced. This of course is a trivial point to anyone with a brain but if you do not believe me than just look at history. Time and time again nations, organizations, and business learned the same thing. It is the people that are the organizations, the nation, and the business. It takes years to build a place up, it takes very little time to tear it down and good people can never ever be simply replaced.

Anonymous said...

"I really miss so-and-so and I wish he hadn't left because he was really good" is never a sentiment that is welcomed either by peers, managers, or subordinates. Everyone wants the opportunity that comes with turnover. No one wants to be directly compared with the "really good" guy who is now gone; they want to now be the "good" one. Watch closely the dynamic in organizations that have lost "really good" people to retirement or to transfers, etc. If the replacement is not so good, it will only be mentioned in whispers.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the issue of the true state of the TCP1 pensions.... new federal pension laws allows corporations to compute the expected returns on investment over a much longer period of history (pre-Great Recession) so that they can assume that the future will hold safe returns of about 6% per year on their assets. This changes the pension forecast and makes them look much better funded today than they really are.

But what if, indeed, as some say, we are in a "New Normal" era and returns on safe fixed income investments and bonds don't return to historical norms? Then those lovely figures about a well funded TCP1 pension are nothing but a mirage.

Beware of feeling too safe about the future of your corporate lab pension. We are living in very dangerous economic times. I doubt the Federal Reserve will ever let long term interests rates go back to normal levels of around 6% for long rates. The vast debt this nation has amassed requires that our nation's interest rates remain low... forever!

Even a rise of 10 year Treasury rates to around 5% returns would require paying vast sums of additional taxpayer dollars just to cover the interest payments, much less cover any of the debt. A rise in rates to historical norms would quickly plunge this nation into insolvency and that simply won't be allowed to happen.

Instead, conservative savers (retirees) and pensions will bear the costs of our nation's vast borrowing splurges and many corporate pensions will eventually go belly-up as US interest rates remain abnormally low for decades to come.

Anonymous said...

True.

In 2014 it's going to be interesting after the Nov, 2014 election just what the Fed is going to do after it's done with it's bond buying taper program? Next step Fed has a ton of debt on the unaudited books. Some say Fed will let the short term debt just expire to term. On shorter duration notes lets say that's 2016 to 2018.

The Fed may be able to raise interest ZIRP 0.25% to 0.50% for the first time in six years. The comment of virtually forever is so true. The T10 rate went down recently to 2.6% yield. T30 is 3.37%.

Thing is buy US Bonds your risking getting your head handed to you once Fed rates go up on bond math. That event won't help equities either since recent record run ups has been propped up with record margin dollars.

It's potential scary indeed. Savers are being forced to save more compounding using "brut-force methods". Save more. Savers can get a whopping FDIC rate at an online bank for 0.80%, plus or minus. Beats breaking the buck. That is if the bank doesn't fail. Meanwhile banks are getting sweet carry-trades on your saving. Swell.

In the new normal, your being forced in the markets to take on risk with a portion of your savings just to get 2, 3 or 5%. Price volatility is not for everyone who's not keen on being a junk lord on capital if the big shoe-bang falls.

In other words, you have to "bust a move, aka ass" to get yield these days. The price of stocks, bonds, ETF's, CEF's etc are priced to perfection in 2014. Getting 5% and above equals using leverage vehicles.

Since the great 2008 recession this situation is truly an implied tax on savers, big time. Fed says good news there's no inflation. The way they choose to measure it. Really ?

This is the biggest Bull Shifty at the Economic Rodeo in years.

Want to day trade, oh sure. Then your competing against the HFT guys with the fast connections and banks of computer "Algo's". These guys get rebates on orders, plus clever tricks such as stop hunting, latency arbitrage, cross market arbitrage, order canceling in 0.0001 seconds etc. HFT goal is to be ahead on trades of everything. Sounds bloody fair to me ?

Scary stuff since regulators look the other way. HTF's bring in big money trading in unreal timeframes. This makes it very difficult on big pensions and institutions to make that 7 to 8% they need to grow the pensions. HFT hunt big foot prints on trades. These HFT clowns have a 90%, plus success rate.

Makes you wonder how TCP1 is invested ? Who does the investing ? What's their rate of return on capital 1, 3, 5 years ?

Selling out is the new keeping it real. Reality, there's a greater "sucking" sound on main street USA as years drag on, yadda yadda, bla bla bla.

Let's wish the citizens of the USA are too big to fail ? Good luck and good night. We'll keep a light on.

Anonymous said...

Doom and gloom. Nothing is more dangerous than someone with a little bit of knowledge and zero understanding. Anyone can look up financial market specs and use them to clutter up a blog. Scatter a few "Some say..." and "The Fed may..." around so that you are protected from seeming to actually make any solid claims. The real point is your questions about the TCP1 investments, intended to raise apprehension. Anyone who cares can find those answers as well. Your jealousy towards those who will actually receive a defined benefit pension is pretty obvious.

Anonymous said...

Not jealousy, just worry when you don't and go whining to the gov't to bail you out.

Interest rates will rise, and you think you'll get the similar Defined Benefit returns equivalent to the doubling of stocks this past 5 years?

If inflation becomes significant, interest rates rise, and Obamacare politics can't work to smooth out the bumps, a flat return may not be able to fund those retiring with Defined Benefits in 10s of years. But what the hell, those near retirement will get theirs.

Anonymous said...

The point is questions about how TCP1 is managed by LLNS? Where can these answers be found ? LLNS publishing an annual report for 2013 performance ?

"News about your benefits" with TCP2 UC Defined Benefit just came in for 2014 COLA's.

On or before -July 1, 2006 2.00%
July 2, 2006 - July 1, 2008 1.50%
July 2, 2008 - July 1, 2009 1.98%
July 2, 2009 - July 1, 2011 2.00%
July 2, 2011 - July 1, 2012 1.84%
July 2, 2012 - July 1, 2013 1.50%

The increases will appear in UC checks paid at end of July.

Anonymous said...

you think you'll get the similar Defined Benefit returns equivalent to the doubling of stocks this past 5 years?

May 6, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Of course not, No one with any brain expects that. The Defined Benefit pension is just that: "defined." That means the pension benefit is fixed, based on salary history, age, and years of service, and is entirely independent of what the return on the plan investment is (unless the plan goes insolvent, which DOE/NNSA will not let happen). It is NOT a 401k Defined Contribution plan. Try to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

"News about your benefits" with TCP2 UC Defined Benefit just came in for 2014 COLA's.

May 6, 2014 at 1:58 PM

You are thoroughly confused. "TCP2," a designation for the LLNS and LANS Defined Contribution (i.e., 401k) plans, has nothing to do with UC. There is no such thing as "TCP2 UC Defined Benefit." You seem to be reporting on what the UC pension plan COLAs will be in 2014 for people who have retired from UC in the past, nothing to do with "TCP2." Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

The clue is that many employees retired from UC when they elected for TCP-2, so they have been collecting UC retirement (with 2% COLA--YAY!)while sinking their hard eaned paychecks into their 401K accounts (almost doubling their investment-- double YAY!) That is the clue you were looking for.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't looking for a clue. Your statement is correct but doesn't explain the poster's citation of "TCP2 UC Defined Benefit" which is nonsensical. The COLAs for UC Defined Benefit retirees hold whether or not they are also in TCP2 with LLNS or LANS.

Anonymous said...

If fixed interest rates and bond returns stay ultra-low for many years to come and the stock market has topped out (or nearly so), with little further upside then the only recourse will be to tax the remaining employees who work at the labs even higher amounts for their pension "contributions".

It could get very painful for those who are on TCP1 and are still pulling a lab paycheck in the years ahead. You may be putting around 20% of your salary into the pension pot to keep it afloat!

Anonymous said...

You have entirely ignored the very accurate analysis of the top post. Just more jealousy.

Anonymous said...

It could get very painful for those who are on TCP1 and are still pulling a lab paycheck in the years ahead. You may be putting around 20% of your salary into the pension pot to keep it afloat!


May 6, 2014 at 9:38 PM


Many years ago there was talk about employee contribution being as high as 16%. It appears we are heading in that direction.

Anonymous said...

Yes, defined benefits are "defined benefits" -constant, unless the underlying securities (investments) can not support the payouts, then the remaining employees will or the payouts will decrease, or the gov't will bail out.

LLNL high salaries and a pension, what a take. Like Dire Straits said "Money for nothing..." well you know the rest.

Anonymous said...

Your point? In case you had one?

Anonymous said...

"LLNL high salaries and a pension, what a take. Like Dire Straits said "Money for nothing..." well you know the rest.

May 7, 2014 at 3:46 PM"

What does this mean? You seem rather confused and a tad loopy. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

What comes to mind with Dire Straits rock'n roll analogy classic for LLNL ULM is

"Overhead Money for Nothing 'n Dinner Chits for Free" served with a bubbly Wente Select offsite meeting."

"Overhead Money For Nothing"

Now look at them yo-yo's that's the way you do it
You play flute on the NNSA
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' 'n dinner chits for free
Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them ULM guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb rewriting 'dat layoff policy

We gotta install microwave heating
Custom kitchen deliveries Disney landscapes
We gotta move these refrigerators with shoes that grip
We gotta move these 65 inch LED's

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that's his own Betchtel hair piece
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he's a Bechtel private sector billionaire

We gotta install microwave heating
Custom kitchens deliveries with Disney landscapes
We gotta move these refrigerators with shoes that grip
We gotta move these 65 inch LED's

I shoulda learned to play the fusion laser physics
I shoulda learned to play them short pulse lasers
Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera in dat Star Trek movie roll

Man we could have some fun
And Hurricane up there, what's that? Hawaiian little star noises?
Bangin' on the bongoes chimpanzee in the FTE workforce
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your overhead money for nothin' get your dinner chits for free

Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
You play the flute on the NNSA
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Overhead money for nothin' and your dinner chits for free
Money for nothin' and bonus retirement chits for free

Anonymous said...

Well done. Another anthem for the lab could be "girls, just wanna have fun"

Anonymous said...

Great. High school dropout lyrics driving your life and worldview. How admirable. No wonder your life is in dire straits.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. High school dropout lyrics driving an accurate representation of your employer.

Anonymous said...

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

I come to 'da Lab in the morning light
My mother group leader says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we're not the fortunate ones
And girl GL's they wanna have fun
Oh girl DL's just wanna have fun

The phone rings in the middle of the night
Oh Hurricane yells what you gonna do with your LIFE
Oh Omar Daddy'O dear you know you're still number one
But PAD girls they wanna have fun
Oh PAD girls just wanna have fun

That's all they really want
Some STEM fun
When the working day is done dem do complex derivatives
STEM Girls - they wanna have complex mathematical fun
Oh STEM girls just wanna have pure science fun

Some professor boys take a beautiful girl dresser up for Bio Science
And hide her DNA away from the rest of the real world
I want to be the one to walk in tail risk of the little sun
Oh dem STEM girls they wanna have fun
Oh dem STEM girls just wanna have

That's all they really want
Some physics fun
When the working day is done more physics fun
Girls - they wanna have physics fun
Oh girls just wanna have physics fun,
They wanna have fun,
They wanna have STEM fun…


Anonymous said...

Another great one. Kudos.

Just one more year of raises below COLA then it's time to tell Goldstein "We're not gonna take it"

Anonymous said...

"May 7, 2014 at 9:37 PM"

Amusing, but is a very sad way. What the hell happened to you? Where did it all go so wrong in your life that are only left with pure bitterness and hatred? Come on tell us your story. Did a scientists steal your wife? Did you always want to be sentient but got kicked out of college. Did you have a crackpot theory that no one belies. Seriously what is your major malfunction. You have never given a sound reason why you hate the lab workers. We want to know the real reason. Once you admit you have a problem it could be your first step to recovery. In your case I think everything good is long gone and your only left with bitterness. Tells us what went wrong, your life could be used as a warning to others.

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2014 at 7:58 AM,


I'll let you know just after I finish reading "The Catcher in the Rye".

Anonymous said...

Believe

Standing round the laser table
Spinning safety fables
Signing documents
Can't you hear them laugh
ha ha ha

In their secrecies
Plan their strategies
Called hypocrisy
Believe

Early mornings
Tell me everything
Need to know
Care to know
No need to know
Visualize
The look in the eyes
Horror
As the plan goes down
All hands siren sounds
Believe
Believe

The bull is dancing
The eagle flies
Stand on sovereign ground
Forces pull us down down down
Believe
Believe

Tensions on both sides
Paralyzed victimized
Terrified petrified
Demoralized mortified
Believe
Believe

Pacified by every side
Force-fed pride
Believe

At will broken
Equation of state broken
Containment
Testify
Justify
Believe

Laugh at social peril
Nation build
Believe

Anonymous said...

Is amateur hour over yet?

Anonymous said...

Whoa - I thought the previous thread was the worst ever. Boy was I wrong!

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Wow your posts are getting increasingly creepy and uncomfortable. Mr Troll you are starting to really lose it. Please get help before you hurt yourself or hurt others. You are really messed up and it starting to get rather disturbing. Please, and I am serious, please for the sake of your family, friends, former coworkers please seek some form or professional help.

Anonymous said...

Let it be. Live and let live. Please please party poop'in please pretty pretty words. Please try as the will to escape seeker of the dream time of rapid eye movements. This too will pass, soul to soul and mass of dark matter. Relax it will never never happen again, tiny daggers.
Dreammare
Grinning demons smiling sideways
Laughing in my face
Here within my troubled sleep
There's such a lonely place
Running fast but never moving
I can't get away
Strange but realistic objects
Making me their prey
Then it's gone as fast as it came
Evil dream
Changing like the sun turns to rain
It would seem
Dining with the gods of beauty
On a distant shore
Tasting fruits of untold sweetness
Never seen before
Dancing stars with crystal voices
Beckon with their eyes
Unicorn of many colors
Rides to paradise
Then it's gone as fast as it came
Peaceful scene
Changing like the sun turns to rain
It would seem
Sleepless nights that last a lifetime
Crucify my head
Dreams of peace and then disaster
Wish that I were dead
Looking for the end of darkness
Seeking out the day
For escape with sweeter thought of
Bearing me away
Then it's gone as fast as it came
Evil dream
Changing like the sun turns to rain
It would seem
Come into my dream

Anonymous said...

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2014 at 12:44 AM

Okay, I take it back, you have very insightful and clearly thought posts highlighting your issues with the lab workforce. And you should know with you vast experience and leadership at numerous national laboratories and high tech industries. Now just remember to take your medication and stay calm. Perhaps it is time to create your own blog called "I hate world", so you can post at your hearts desire, I am sure it will be immensely popular and you will no longer need to post at LLNL-The Ture Story.

Anonymous said...

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you're gonna have to serve somebody, well, it may be the devil (aka LLNS/LANS) or it may be the Lord but you're gonna have to serve somebody....

"Gotta Serve Somebody"

Bob Dylan

Anonymous said...


"Gotta Serve Somebody"

Bob Dylan

May 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

In you case it is the head of the local insane asylum.

Anonymous said...

I like this blog. Lab employees showing off their financial expertise. Good to know when they are laid off they can find work at H&R Block - a seasonal job, just like at the lab.

Anonymous said...

I like this blog. Lab employees showing off their financial expertise.

May 10, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Not to mention their command of grammar and spelling.

Anonymous said...

“Get Your Billion Back, America”

Anonymous said...

Friends, go outside and get some air. It will be ok. TCP1 is doing ok, and is likely to pay obligations in the future. There is plenty of eyes on and time to adapt if markets under perform long-term. It is good enough for now. Relax. As St. JP the Great said, "Fear not".

Anonymous said...

To which I would add, "...and save 10%..."

Anonymous said...

"Friends, go outside and get some air. It will be ok"

That's right. Don't worry, you will be taken care of -Management.

Anonymous said...

OK, so you think management is going to screw you as regards the pension plan. What, exactly, are you going to do about it except post your anti-management diatribes on this blog? What, exactly, do you propose anyone else do about it? If you can't think of anything, what is your point?

Anonymous said...

This opens the door up to a more interesting question. Why is management so protected and valued.

May 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM had a very high level commentary of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Then to be viciously attacked by management (most likely) -"post your anti-management diatribes" says a lot.

YOU WILL NOT QUESTION MANAGEMENT.

"What, exactly, do you propose anyone else do about it?" Supplemental retirement planning outside of pension.

Anonymous said...

May 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM had a very high level commentary of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Then to be viciously attacked by management...

"What, exactly, do you propose anyone else do about it?" Supplemental retirement planning outside of pension.

May 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM

May 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM didn't say anything like that. His comment, in its entirety, was "That's right. Don't worry, you will be taken care of -Management."

And asking questions is not an "attack." And anyone who is NOT doing "supplemental retirement planning outside of pension" is a complete fool.

Anonymous said...

"What, exactly, do you propose anyone else do about it?" Supplemental retirement planning outside of pension.

Absolutely.

Personally, I'm satisfied with the current status of the LLNS pension plan and I'm glad the information was posted. While there are problems with pensions in general (e.g., low interest rates), our pension plan is doing well and it is very likely to succeed.

However, likely to succeed does not mean guaranteed to succeed (with or without the PBGC). It is prudent to save and invest outside of the defined benefit plan. This is retirement diversification. It is also called the three legs of the retirement stool (DB pension, investments, social security).

My net worth was essentially $0 when I came to the Laboratory a little over 20 years ago. Since then I have followed the "get rich slowly plan." I lived well below my means and saved in mainstream investment products using a diversified asset allocation in multiple low-cost vehicles: UC 403(b), UC 457(b), UC 401(a), LLNS 401(k), taxable investments (e.g., Vanguard). I continue to use effective tax strategies (e.g., backdoor Roth contributions making non-deductible tIRA to Roth conversions and after-tax 401k to Roth rollovers; donor advised funds; tax loss harvesting). My investable assets are now worth significantly more than the present value of my projected lifetime pension payout. My total net worth (investments, capitalized pension value, home equity) is now over $5M.

I have done well financially because I lead my personal financial life exactly the opposite of how Laboratory management runs the organization. For example, while I rebalance my investments using efficient tax strategies, I am a buy-and-hold index investor. I do not churn (change) my investments, unlike a Laboratory management that feels the need to reorganize every five minutes at considerable expense (if it didn't work last time, why do you believe it will work this time). I try to minimize costs by understanding them.

Personally, I do not believe Laboratory management could hurt the pension plan even if they tried. To put it bluntly, they are too incompetent.

So that is what I'm doing about it. When faced with important decisions I always ask myself, "what would Laboratory management do in this situation?" Then I do the opposite. Works every time.

Anonymous said...

Nice comments !

Stay in budget. Control risk. Compound returns. Have yield distributions that pay cash. Use sensible investment vehicles with low expense. Roll company plans into a IRA at a discount brokerage. Contribute to a Roth IRA.

Schwab now has an ETF one-source with zero trading costs and lowest expensive fees in industry along with Vanguard.

There are simple ways to structure a KISS diversified portfolio.

Great ETF site… ETF.com

"How To Get An Almost Free ETF Portfolio"

http://www.etf.com/sections/blog/21950-how-to-get-an-almost-free-etf-portfolio.html?showall=&fullart=1&start=2

Anonymous said...

Question: What is your "capitalized pension value" calculation ?

Just curious assuming your projecting this out number of years for average lifetime type thing ?

Anonymous said...

How to you arrive at "capitalized pension value" numbers ? Just curious, that would be over a lifetime guess ?

Anonymous said...

"Capitalized pension value" is a bogus contribution to net worth. It assumes you will have many years of pension income to pass to your descendents, but if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, it is all gone. Most higher-salary long-term LLNS retirees will have a "capitalized pension value" well over $2M. If you just want increased bragging rights about your "net worth" then fine. But bogus.

Anonymous said...

Lump sum cash out value was a better yardstick, but there is some validity to this because:

a) if married, there are spousal survivorship options.

b) if single, it doesn't matter (ie as long as you're alive you do have that $2m in value, once your dead, it doesn't matter).

Anonymous said...

The spousal benefits are much less.

Anonymous said...

Plus, it matters if that is what you are telling your survivors your net worth is. A lie.

Anonymous said...

How to you arrive at "capitalized pension value" numbers ? Just curious, that would be over a lifetime guess ?

For relatively young people approaching retirement (say, individuals in their 50's), a rule of thumb is to multiply the annual payout of a fully COLA'ed defined benefit pension by 25. The multiplier is 15 for pensions without a COLA. The multiplier is 20 for pensions with a partial COLA, such as those offered by UC and LLNS. Obviously, it is more complicated than this but these are good rules of thumb that provide results similar to those used by financial institutions.

Capitalized pension value is a legitimate metric of total net worth because it represents how much someone needs in investable assets to provide the same lifetime income as a pension, and/or how much it costs to purchase an annuity from an insurance company that provides an income equal to the pension. This is how the concept is often used in studies by the Federal Reserve.

Simply put, all else being equal, a person with a pension is financially better off than a person without a pension by an amount equal to the capitalized pension value. This is one reason most financial analysts suggest that pensions be factored into asset allocation strategies (in effect, pensions are equivalent to fixed income investments).

Anonymous said...

"Capitalized pension value" is a bogus contribution to net worth.

Your opinion has no impact on my financial situation so I do not particularly care what you think.

However, what I said most likely impacts you. It is financially prudent to save/invest outside of a defined benefit pension plan, even when the plan's current status is financially solid (e.g., LLNS). It is wise to have independent sources of future income. Specifically, it is prudent to: budget, track expenses, live within your means, save and invest, focus on low-cost financial products such as index funds from reputable companies, diversify, buy-and-hold but rebalance, stick to an investment plan, maintain appropriate insurance, and utilize effective tax minimization strategies.

I have implemented all of these concepts. This is why my investable assets have more income producing value over my lifetime than the LLNS pension. Even in the unlikely but possible event that the pension fails, I have multiple options to protect my standard of living.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. A 25 year multiplier on a defined benefit with a retirement age of 62 gives a shelf life of 87.

I just ran into a LLNL retiree at the grocery store. Man was looking dang good considering he just turned 91. This fella since his wife passed, decided to move into Heritage in Livermore that large complex on Stanley Blvd. His option is one-payed meal a day. You can have one, two or three that scales monthly cost. He is living in his own apartment which is nice.

Total cost per month is in the range of $6000. Over five years that's $360K. This a parabolic cost of living many don't consider. If nursing home care is required it's more expensive.

Wise to mind your expenses while you can do math. That's $200 per day, plus or minus maybe with some chicken on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

It is a sobering and serious thing to consider - $6000 a month for "assisted living" probably more like $10,000 a month if nurses and medical care are required continuously. That assumes no family to continuously and perpetually provide care, and also only one person, not both spouses. Of course, if there is a wholly-owned home to sell to provide money, that helps. But for most people who are starting to think about this, it is too late for affordable long-term-care insurance. Better have plenty of investments in addition to your pension, because you WILL become unable to take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Long term care insurance is bit of a joke. Tried to get a quote one year. It was like pulling teeth. They just won't hand over a quote like home or auto. It's like $400 to 500/mo. Kicker is they will only pay out for few years of care. Like most insurance they love your premiums. Worst case if you don't have the funds, state forces you to go insolvent. End up in a small room with a roommate worst off then you. Just crazy equity in a home can be brunt in only a few years that took typical 30 years to pay off working an entire career. May be better to go on a Gilligan's island one-way cruise and go fishing with Tina Louise, yeah.

Anonymous said...

"That's right. Don't worry, you will be taken care of -Management."

I'm tired of this bash the lab and management craze. The lab has a lot to be proud of: Big lasers, big computers, and a broad tech infrastructure. We need to work on preserving and expanding the capabilities.

Anonymous said...

"It is a sobering and serious thing to consider - $6000 a month for "assisted living" probably more like $10,000 a month if nurses and medical care are required continuously. That assumes no family to continuously and perpetually provide care, and also only one person, not both spouses. Of course, if there is a wholly-owned home to sell to provide money, that helps. But for most people who are starting to think about this, it is too late for affordable long-term-care insurance. Better have plenty of investments in addition to your pension, because you WILL become unable to take care of yourself.

May 14, 2014 at 7:31 PM"

Well we will have death panels soon, so maybe we do not have worry about "long term" care. Also we need to consider global warming and cost benefit analysis. It looks like the only way to save humanity will be to have a true and pure socialist state. The individual can no think only of themselves they have to think about the survival of the human race.

Anonymous said...

Big lasers, big computers...

May 14, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Big money spent, no return to the taxpayer. Lousy investment.

Anonymous said...

Well we will have death panels soon, so maybe we do not have worry about "long term" care. Also we need to consider global warming and cost benefit analysis. It looks like the only way to save humanity will be to have a true and pure socialist state. The individual can no think only of themselves they have to think about the survival of the human race.

May 14, 2014 at 8:44 PM

You are so freakin' clueless on so many levels I don't know where to begin. Plus your spelling and grammar suggests you have no education. Go back to watching Hannity - but please shut up. You give true conservatism a bad name.

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Anonymous said...

If you are Catholic, the Knights of Columbus have legitimate, excellent, low-cost long-term care insurance options for members and spouses.

Anonymous said...

Isn't TCP1 doing well compared to other pensions across the complex and the country in general? Just don't count on the PBGC as a safety net, they are upside down by billions themselves. Even if the PBGC was solvent when needed, pensioners may only receive a fraction of their earned benefit based on their age and their salary.

Anonymous said...

TCP1 is a closed system, with completely predictable future liabilities, and sufficient resources to allow them to be met with extremely conservative planning. For TCP1 members, there are many, many more potential problems in their lives to be worried about than that. Of course, there would be a period of uncertainty if LLNS were to lose the contract and dissolve before the last TCP1 member receives his last payment, but the successor transition wording in the contract addresses this adequately.

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"TCP1 is a closed system..."

So was Social Security.

Generally true but naïve statement.

TCP1 is entirely reliant on returns on the investments, or else needs a bailout. In the more realistic case, employee contributions 2%, 4%, 6%, 8% to make up balance. So an effective decrease in salary now for security later.


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