ACERA Members and Employers,
As the world confronts the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I wanted to update you on how ACERA is responding. I also wanted to address the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy and on ACERA’s investment portfolio—and reassure you that your retirement benefits are safe.
Our top priority here at ACERA is the health and wellbeing of our members, our employees, and our families. We’re in the retirement business, and many of our members are those most at risk from COVID-19. We want to ensure your safety while continuing to serve all of your retirement needs, so here’s what you should know for the coming weeks:
ACERA’s Office is Closed to the Public
ACERA’s office will be closed to the public March 17 through the end of the public health order to shelter in place, but we will continue to work to serve members. As a result, one-on-one Ready-to-Retire counseling appointments are only available via phone. Appointments will be prioritized by date of retirement since we have limited staff; members retiring after April 30 may need to be rescheduled. If you have an existing appointment, we will reach out to you to discuss your options. You can also call us at 510-628-3000 or send us an email. Our response may be delayed, but we will get your message and get back to you as soon as we can.
We’re Processing Retirements on Schedule
If you have submitted an application for an upcoming retirement, don’t worry—we’re processing your application, and you will receive your pension check on schedule. If you are considering retirement in the coming months and haven’t submitted an application, contact us as soon as possible so we can get the process started.
We’re Making Upcoming Retirement Payments on Schedule
Retirees—your upcoming pension payments are on schedule. The next ACERA benefit payment date is Tuesday, March 31. As always, direct deposit transactions will take place on or before this date, and checks will be mailed by this date. Additionally, any members who retire on or before April 1 will receive the 2020 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and the increase will automatically be included in your benefit payments beginning April 30.
All Seminars Will Be Held As Webinars
New-Employee, Mid-Career, Pre-Retirement, and Medicare Transition seminars, will be held solely as webinars until further notice. Additionally, there is a possibility that these may be canceled altogether. The March 17 Pre-Retirement Seminar will be held as a webinar. Registrants should check their email for instructions on how to participate.
Your Retirement Security Is Our Top Priority
Finally, providing you with retirement security is central to our mission at ACERA. We’re able to provide that security through long-term investing. We have built an investment portfolio which is designed to generate returns over decades—rather than days, weeks or months. Over the last 25 years, we’ve earned an average annual return of 9.0% on our investments (as of 12/31/19), a period which includes the last major market downturn in 2008. While our fund is not immune to short-term volatility and extreme market fluctuations, our strategy helps ACERA provide retirement security to our members now and well into the future.
I appreciate your patience, and thank you for serving the Alameda County community in these difficult times. We’ll continue to be at your service for many years to come.
Chief Executive Officer