Thursday, 26 October 2017

Pensions scam: Gov. orders probe into alleged malpractice

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has ordered probe into allegations of malpractices in the payment of pensions of retired civil servants in the state.
Some staff of the audit unit of the office of the Auditor- General of the state have been accused of extorting money from pensioners to facilitate their pension payments.
Umahi, in a release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, expressed dismay over the alleged extortions.
According to him, the state government will do everything within its powers to get to the root of the matter.
“The issues surrounding the non-payment of pension and gratuities in the state had been hinged on criminal padding and inflation of pensions and gratuities.
“This criminal inflation and doctoring of figures as noticed in the payroll of pensioners, led to setting up a special committee in charge of harmonising entitlements accruable to pensioners in the state.
“The committee headed by the Deputy Governor has been working assiduously to ensure that no pensioner is shortchanged or omitted,” he said.
Umahi expressed surprise that some retired civil servants still alleged extortion by officials of the audit unit, even when the accruable payments were not within the jurisdiction of the auditor-general.
“It is possible that those who alleged extortion were the bad eggs who inflated or altered their entitlements in connivance with some staff of the audit department,” he said.
READ: Maina`s reinstatement an embarrassment – APC
The governor said that such people had refused to appear before the deputy governor led-harmonisation committee to prevent the determination of their proper entitlements.
“The people involved in this issue should appear before the office of the deputy governor saddled with the speedy payment of pensions instead of looking for shortcuts to defraud the state government. .
“Consequently, all retired civil servants who have not completed their physical capturing should immediately do so as those that have completed theirs have been duly paid,” he said.
The governor said that he had directed the Head of Service, the auditor-general and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission of the state to expeditiously investigate the alleged pension scam.
“Anybody found culpable will be made to face the wrath of the law as this administration will not tolerate such deliberate sabotage of government policies and programmes,” he added.
He directed the pensioners allegedly exploited to report to the office of the Chief Press Secretary, Government House, Abakaliki, and officially lodge their complaints,” he said.

PM news

Friday, 20 October 2017

Biafra: Buhari approves payment of pension to pardoned police personnel

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of pension to police personnel who served under the defunct Biafran police during the civil war.
The Police officers were granted presidential pardon in 2000.
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Wednesday announced that about 162 of such retired police officers and 57 Next of Kin will be paid their benefits in the first phase which kicks off this month.
The statement reads: “The general public would recall that Nigeria witnessed an ugly civil war between July, 1967 and January, 1970 and as a result of that unfortunate period in our history, some members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and paramilitary officers who took part with the Secessionist were dismissed from the service.
“The dismissal of those officers was commuted to retirement in the year 2000 through a Presidential Amnesty granted on 29th May, 2000 by the Administration of the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“A verification exercise was conducted for the pardoned officers by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other.
“Despite the Presidential pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon. However, the present administration under the able leadership of President, Muhammadu Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlements to these officers and their Next of Kin.
“PTAD is commencing the payment of pension benefits to the retired war affected police officers on Friday October 20, 2017 in Enugu. 162 officers will be payrolled and 57 Next of Kin who have also not been paid their death benefits will be paid in the first batch.”

Daily post

Thursday, 24 August 2017

A couple who paid off $127,000 in 4 years shares their No. 1 money-saving tip

Emmie Martin
In 2008, Cherie and Brian Lowe found themselves deep underwater.
Between credit cards, student loans, car payments and a gap loan, the couple had racked up more than $127,000 in debt, but struggled to make a dent in paying it off.
"At that point, we had been married just about nine years and really we just didn't have a plan for our money," Cherie tells CNBC Make It . "We lived paycheck to paycheck, and when a crisis would arise, if we didn't have the cash to pay for it, we would put it on the credit card."
After several failed attempts at taking control, Brian came home one day and pitched a vision to Cherie of what their family's lives could look like without the debt. The couple decided it was time to make a change and they pledged to finally get a handle on their finances. On April 2, 2008, they set out on the first day of a 15-year plan to become debt-free.
But just shy of four years later, on March 28, 2012, the Lowes made their final Sallie Mae payment, conquering $127,482.30 in debt and interest, which Cherie documented on her blog, Queen of Free, and in her book, "Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After."
To reach the milestone, the couple worked together to both increase their income and pare down expenses. While many larger factors contributed to their success, including building an emergency fund, rejiggering their tax withholdings, taking on side hustles, giving up restaurant meals and living with less, Cherie's No. 1 money-saving trick is simple.
"Every time you check out at the grocery store, you need to look in your cart and find three to five items that you don't need," she says. "You will save $5 to $10 every time you shop without cutting a single coupon."
The tactic works for two reasons: It puts a barrier between placing an item in your cart and actually paying for them and it shaves down your bills little by little.
"It's the pause before you check out that I think is so effective," Cherie says, noting that the idea holds especially true in grocery stores, where it's easy to nab appealing items without much thought about how they add up. "There some things that sometimes we pick up and maybe we might need them next week — and it's fine to go ahead and buy them next week — but right now you probably don't [need it]. Just pause and only buy what you really need."
Few people religiously stick to their shopping lists, and even those who do can often stand to cut back on a few non-essentials.
Cherie also recommends sticking to cash while grocery shopping, which creates another physical boundary between grabbing an item and bringing it home. "It places a firm fence around how much you're going to spend," Cherie says.
Others who have paid off thousands in debt swear by creating boundaries as well. For Lauren Greutman, a former over-spender who dug herself out of more than $40,000 in credit card debt , that meant ditching the plastic for good. "I absolutely had to stop carrying my cards with me, because I was just too swipe happy," she writes in her book "The Recovering Spender." "I had zero self-control."
Even though going cash-only caused Greutman a few embarrassing moments, including the time she forgot her bills at home and couldn't afford to buy groceries, in the long run it held her accountable for her spending and forced her to stick to her budget. "Those boundaries are there to keep you safe," she writes.

Yahoo Finance/CNBC

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How YOUR pension has HALVED over the last 10 years, shock new figures- Lana Clements

How YOUR pension has HALVED over the last 10 years, shock new figures

PENSIONS have HALVED in the last decade, according to shocking new figures.

my pension ageGETTY
Pension income has been hit over the last 10 years
The figures mean Britons retiring in 2017 will be massively worse off than those who finished work just before the 2008 credit crunch and subsequent financial crisis.

Calculations by financial services giant Fidelity have revealed today’s retirees have ben hit by a triple blow of falling real wages, lower market returns and reduced income from annuities.

People finishing work this year will typically have saved pension pots that are £40,000 lower on average than someone in 2007, according to Fidelity.

Lower savings levels add extra misery to this year's retirees who have already seen wage growth eroded by the cost of living by one percentage point below inflation over the past 10 years.

On the other hand, people who retired in 2007 typically earned wages that maintained their buying power at 0.9 percentage points above Consumer Price Inflation (CPI).

It means that people who retire this year will have paid in £5,179 less to saving schemes over the 10 year before finishing work, compared to counterparts a decade earlier, according to Fidelity.

And it comes amid poorer stock market performance over the past 10 year than the decade earlier.

For someone earning £45,000, the savings pot at the end of the 10 years is £139,110 in 2017, compared with £180,106 in 2007, Fidelity found.

Worse still, savings today buy lower levels of income than 10 years ago.

This results in an annuity income that is at just £6,607 today, compared to £12,193 in 2007.

Martin Lewis on how much to save for your pension

Ed Monk, associate director at personal investing for Fidelity International said: “This all makes grim reading for the 2017 cohort of retirees yet it’s important not to abandon hope.

"In the period since the crisis the pension freedoms reforms have freed many more people to access their pension pot using drawdown instead of an annuity.

“This comes with greater risk but at least provides an alternative to being locked into low paying annuities and gives you greater flexibility over how you manage your income.

"For those still with some years to go before they retire, there’s a chance to make more of the time available left to save.

“Maximising contributions to take advantage of any employer contributions on offer as well as the help available from tax relief makes sense, as does ensuring your pension money is invested to take a level of risk that you’re comfortable with, but that will give you a chance of decent growth.”

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

This person asked the internet if it was necessary to save so much for retirement — the response was surprising

Maybe people do prioritize saving for old age

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
One man thought saving for retirement was ‘overkill’ — the internet set him straight.
When VintageBurtMacklin, as the Reddit user goes by, asked why everyone is advised to “save so much for retirement” — and if it is really the right move — the commenters of the personal finance thread of the online discussion site responded in full force.
Apparently, they have been paying attention to the news of the looming retirement crisis affecting the country.
VintageBurtMacklin shared his scenario: he took a new job after welcoming a new baby, and analyzed his budget, keeping in mind the typical advice that retirement savings should be maxed out before moving on to other financial goals, such as paying off a house or saving for college and new cars. “While I understand the importance of saving for retirement, it seems to me that saving 12% of my pre-tax income will generate more than enough savings for our retirement goals,” the Redditor said. He is 25, earns $80,000, expects to retire at 65 with a 6% estimated return and is contributing $900 a month before the 4% employer match — that would leave him with about $2.5 million, or about $75,000 withdrawn annually, he estimated). He wondered if prioritizing retirement was the right decision, or “overkill.”
See: Money Milestones: This is how your finances should look in your late 20s
He got his answer. Reddit users took to the platform reminding him of other expenses he’s not considering, such as possible illness, job loss, divorce, a stock market crash, health care and other long-term care planning, and even taking care of parents when they get older (caregiving is not just a physically demanding role, but a financially demanding one).
“Your calculations are figured for perfection,” one user wrote. “Also remember your kids can borrow for college but you can’t borrow for retirement.” They also tore into his estimations — explaining that interest rates are just coming from all-time lows and that there is no guarantee he will see a 6% annual return for the next 40 years. “How does your planning work out if the market returns 3% per year in real terms?”
Other commenters added that there are so many unknowns in the next four decades. “I think it’s good to maximize retirement savings when you can as there may be periods of your life where you’re unable to do so for one reason or another,” SpidermansMom said. People shared personal stories: that user said her husband fell ill and lost his job, and they suddenly went from two salaries to one. He was too sick to watch their son, who stayed in day care, and she couldn’t save as much for retirement, but felt comforted by the fact they had been maxing out their retirement plans for years before.
Another user said his perception of his retirement changed after his dad died at 69 and he realized he’d personally rather have 15 solid years of retirement compared with his father, who only had three. Another shared that his father made $150,000 a year but today is unemployed with no money. “Fortunes change,” user palsh7 wrote. “Don’t assume anything. If you’re still feeling good at 55, by all means, cut back, but right now you want to invest.”
The notion of saving for retirement isn’t lost on VintageBurtMacklin, or the people who responded to his post, but that’s not the case for everyone. Americans are drastically under-saving for the later years of their lives, and need to take into consideration other expenses they may face when they become a senior citizen. Not all baby boomers are well equipped for their retirement, even though it’s coming soon: the generation born between 1946 and 1964 expect they’ll have $658,000 in their employer-sponsored retirement plans by the time they retire (though the average in those plans is $263,000), according to a Legg Mason survey. Older baby boomers, between 65 and 74, have about $300,000.
Millennials like VintageBurtMicklin, on the other hand, have time on their sides, but many are paying off student debt, balancing other financial responsibilities and questioning if it’s really worth saving just a few bucks every month for their retirement. (The answer: It is.)
Ultimately, VinatgeBurtMicklin was convinced to keep maxing out his retirement savings for now and re-asses when retirement got closer or another life circumstance arose.
“I need to remember that as life changes, I can adjust my contribution levels,” he said. “Contributing the most now makes the most sense, both considering my financial/family position and the value of compound interest.”
Culled from MarketWatch

Thursday, 10 August 2017

PTAD pays 237,306 pensioners N7.4b July benefits

By Clement Nwoji
It revealed that PENCOM was almost finalising arrangements to take over the payment of retired federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries who fall under the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS) from PTAD in January next year.
The Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has paid N7.4 billion to 237,306 pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), being pensions for the month of July 2017.
The pensioners comprised 98,362 under the Parastatals Pensions Department (PaPD), 16,111 under Police Pensions Department (PPD), 110,753 under Civil Service Pensions Department (CSPD) while 12,080 were paid under Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensions Department (CIPPD).
A statement by the management of PTAD confirmed this in Abuja and stressed its commitment to paying pensioners as and when due. Meanwhile, PTAD and National Pensions Commission (PenCom) have met over the payment of retired heads of service and permanent secretaries.
It revealed that PENCOM was almost finalising arrangements to take over the payment of retired federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries who fall under the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS) from PTAD in January next year.
There are 217 retired federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries of which 137 fall under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), while 80 fall under the CPS. PTAD said it administers all pension matters under the DBS, while PENCOM handle retirees under the CPS, noting that an agreement was reached in two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2016 and 2017 between the Pensions agencies for PTAD to pay the monthly pensions of retired federal Heads of Service.
“Provisions were made in the 2017 Budget for payment of all 80 retired Federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries under the CPS,” PTAD said. It further said it has been able to ensure that the senior citizens receive their pension entitlements till date and would continue to do so until December 31, 2017.
Meanwhile, PENCOM has prepared the guidelines for the payment of the retired federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries under the CPS. Executive Secretary of PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, stressed the need to ensure smooth transition devoid of hitches, which could negatively impact on pensions payments.
Also, the Acting Director General of PENCOM, Aisha Dahir–Umar, assured representatives of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS) of a seamless transition, as budgetary preparations were in progress to ensure payments were made from January 2018.
PTAD recently verified retired Federal Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Is 2017 the year to clean up your finances and invest with the best?

Your financial goals for 2017 don’t need to be such hard work. In fact, just 10 minutes now can save you a lot of anguish – and money – later on
Give yourself the best financial start to the year
Are you feeling the post-Christmas pinch? It can be tough going in January after the annual splurge. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Putting aside a little each month can help you build a tidy nest egg over time. Getting started is the hardest bit, but once you’ve made the commitment, you’re up and running.
The only question then is: where do I put that money?
Sadly, typical interest rates on savings accounts have been incredibly low ever since the financial crash in 2008.
It can be difficult to find a bank savings account that just keeps pace with inflation, especially with so many living costs on the rise since the Brexit vote.
So, no wonder many people consider investing as they seek out the best returns on their money.
You should always remember that investing puts your money, or capital, at risk, whilst holding money in cash does not ( up to the FSCS ceiling of £85,000 ).
If you’re willing to accept risk, the difference between saving and investing can be quite amazing. Take a look at these figures from Nutmeg, the popular online investment manager.
This chart is taken from Nutmeg’s ISA Calculator tool , which helps you see how your money might grow in a savings account compared to an investment portfolio.
With an ISA, which stands for Individual Savings Account and is a government initiative that gives you great tax benefits, you can choose to save your money (a Cash ISA) or invest it (a Stocks & Shares ISA).
If you’re new to investing it can seem quite daunting at first. There are so many options – stocks, bonds, funds, funds of funds.
It’s enough to make your head hurt. And then knowing how much risk you’re taking – because with any investment there is risk – can be mind-boggling, even for an experienced investor.
This is where Nutmeg can help. We make it easy to invest in really sophisticated portfolios by doing all the hard work for you.
All you need to do is go to their award-winning portfolio tool , where you say how much you want to invest and how much you want to put in each month, then pick a time frame and a risk level, between low and high. There are 10 risk levels to choose from, and we’ll help you decide which one best fits with how much risk you want to take.
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You can decide to have a fixed allocation portfolio, which keeps your investments fixed over time as the stock markets ebb and flow. Or you can have a fully-managed portfolio, where Nutmeg constantly monitor the markets and make adjustments to your investments as they see new opportunities for better potential returns.
It’s all online so you can see where your money is invested and how your portfolio is doing whenever you want. You’re not tied in. The fees are low, and simple to understand . You can take your money out when you want. And you can top-up, withdraw or change your risk settings as you wish, at no extra charge.
So what are you waiting for? Remember, it takes just 10 minutes to set up and it could be the best financial decision you make all year. And for years to come!.
Risk warning: Your capital is at risk. The value of your investment, and the income you get from it, can go down as well as up. As with any investment, there is a chance you will get back less than you originally invested.

Culled from Mirror