NYSTRS’ 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report once again demonstrates that your retirement plan remains secure and well-funded with total fiscal year-end net assets of $148.1 billion and a 30-year rate of investment return, net of fees, at 9.2%.
Benefits paid to the System’s retirees and beneficiaries totaled approximately $7.7 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021 – up from $7.5 billion for the previous fiscal year. About 80% of benefits are paid to New York state residents whose spending then has a significant positive impact on state and local economies.
NYSTRS Board President David P. Keefe, who is also a retired teacher, said that he was proud to recognize the System’s accomplishments this fiscal year, its centennial year, and for its entire 100-year history.
“NYSTRS was created in 1921 with a sound funding structure based on scientific, actuarial calculations and an exemplary governance model,” Keefe said. “This structure has kept our Retirement System strong and, I am proud to say, approximately 100% funded as we mark our 100th anniversary.”
One of the best indicators of pension plan strength is its funded ratio and NYSTRS is among the best-funded public pension plans in the nation. The System’s estimated funded ratio as of June 30, 2021 is 99% based on an actuarial value of assets and 113% funded based on a market value of assets. Being fully funded means NYSTRS has the assets necessary to pay all accrued benefits to our nearly 435,000 active and retired members and beneficiaries.
NYSTRS benefits are funded through returns on investments, contributions by participating employers and member contributions. Over the 30-year period from 7/1/1991 to 6/30/2021, the System paid $133.6 billion in benefits. During that same period, approximately 86% of the System’s income was generated from investments, far exceeding the industry average of approximately 61%.
Another indicator of a pension plan’s health is its long-range rate of investment return. The System’s 10- and 25-year returns are 10.1% and 8.4%, respectively.