PSRS Celebrates 70 Years Serving Members
The Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) marks its 70th year this July. As we celebrate this achievement, we reflect on the many ways the System has changed over the years, and how our dedication to providing outstanding service and retirement security to our membership has remained constant.
Since 1946, the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) has been dedicated to these goals:
- To provide retirement security to Missouri's educators and education employees after a full career of service
- To help school districts attract and retain the best and brightest educators and employees for Missouri's school children
- To manage the System in a prudent and cost-efficient manner
In May 1945, Governor Forrest C. Donnell signed into law the Public School Retirement Act of Missouri, which established the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) effective July 1, 1946. Missouri was the 47th state to adopt legislation leading to a statewide teacher retirement system.
Meeting the Needs of a Growing Membership
While our goals have not changed, many aspects of the Retirement System have changed since 1946.
- PSRS membership has grown to over 150,000.
- The number of PSRS service retirees has grown from 312 in 1947 to more than 51,000.
- Average monthly benefits have increased almost one-hundredfold, from around $33 per month to over $3,200 per month.
- PSRS also pays monthly disability retirement benefits and beneficiary payments to approximately 4,800 recipients.
- Total annual benefits paid by PSRS have also increased from around $125,000 to approximately $2.27 billion today.
- As of June 30, 2015, the net assets of PSRS were $34.8 billion.
Keeping Benefits Aligned with the Times
Over the years, PSRS benefits have also improved.
- The period of service required for vesting has shrunk from 30 years to five years.
- The lifetime Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) cap has increased from 24% to 80%.
- Early retirement under a 25-and-Out formula was added in 1995.
- The three-year Final Average Salary (from 10-year) and the Rule of 80 were added in 1999.
- A one-time, lump-sum $5,000 Death Benefit was added for retirees who passed away after June 30, 1999.
Maintaining Best-in-Class Member Service
We continue to deliver better, more convenient ways for our members to interact with us and stay informed about their Retirement System and benefits. We pride ourselves on providing personal service and helpful information to our members at all stages of their careers.
- A toll-free, nationwide phone number was added in 1995.
- In 1996, PSRS introduced an informational website for members.
- The popular Benefit Estimate Calculator was added to the website in 2000.
- The new and improved Web Member Services went online in 2015, providing working and retired members more online options to view and update their membership information than ever before, including the ability to create personalized benefit estimates.
- Starting In March 2016, members can file for service retirement online.
- Member Services representatives are available each working day to answer questions and provide individual counseling in person, by telephone or email.
- A dedicated team of counselors coordinates hundreds of informational, mid-career and pre-retirement planning seminars across the state.
- Web counseling allows members to speak to a counselor live via the Internet in the privacy of their own home.
Some Things Never Change
The purpose of PSRS remains simple: to provide members and their families with a reliable and stable source of retirement income, disability and survivor benefits.
We look forward to continuing the tradition of providing reliable retirement benefits to Missouri's dedicated public school teachers for the next 70 years, and beyond.
A Glimpse of the World When PSRS was New
What was it like in in 1946?
- Winston Churchill made his famous "Sinews of Peace" ("Iron Curtain") speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946.
- Tupperware was introduced to U.S. Consumers.
- The first Cannes Film Festival took place.
- The holiday movie It's a Wonderful Life premiered.
- The first meeting of the United Nations was held at Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London.
- The NFL team San Francisco 49ers was formed.
- Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Cher, Steven Spielberg and Sylvester Stallone were born.
- Missourian Harry S. Truman was president of the United States.
- Popular musicians included Frank Sinatra, the Ink Spots, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters.
- While some homes had TVs, radio was the main lifeline for Americans, providing news, music and entertainment.
And at PSRS in 1946…
- The average PSRS teacher's salary was $1,621.
- The first PSRS office was located in Room 200 of the State Capitol building.
- As of October 1946, PSRS had 11 employees on its payroll.
My, how things have changed!