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Department of Employee Trust Funds
September 20, 2013

Morningstar Finds WRS is
Strongest Funded State Pension System

For the second consecutive year, Morningstar, Inc. found that the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is the strongest funded state pension system in the country.

  • The WRS’s funded ratio of 99.9% is the strongest in the nation. Morningstar considers a funded ratio of 70% to be fiscally sound.
  • Wisconsin’s unfunded liability per resident is $18, the lowest of any public pension plan in the country. Morningstar’s threshold for a “good” unfunded liability level is $1,500 per resident. Only 14 states pass this test.

Morningstar, an independent global investment research firm, recently published its annual report, The State of State Pension Plans 2013: A Deep Dive into Shortfalls and Surpluses, which analyzes current data for pension plans administered by all 50 states. It focuses on two key metrics:

  • Funded Ratio—the ability of a pension plan to meet its obligations.
  • Unfunded Liability per Capita—the amount each person in the state would need to pay to fully fund an unfunded liability.

This financial strength is important to the 570,000 members of the WRS, as well as to the taxpayers of Wisconsin. The continued strength of the WRS is a credit to its careful benefit design and the commitment of policymakers and administrators to properly fund the system. The WRS is well-positioned to pay promised benefits long into the future.


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