Our “unbiased” Society has a Pension Plan shortfall this year of approximately $23.8 million

Chris Johns

National Geographic magazine, says Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns, “is the official journal of the Society.”

National Geographic, Chris says, is “a membership-based organization.”

National Geographic magazine, Chris says, is “unbiased.”*

To sum up: The official journal of our membership-based organization has no particular point of view.

In related news: The National Geographic Society’s Pension Plan just announced it failed to meet its legal funding obligations for 2011.

To meet that legal minimum, our Society needs enough cash to cover at least 80% of its pension liabilities.

Current pension assets: $230,507,726
Current pension liabilities: $317,937,246
Legally required assets-to-liability: 80%
Actual assets-to-liability: 72.5% to 74.2% (depending on method of calculation)
Assets needed to meet the 80% minimum: $254,349,796
Shortfall: $23,842,070

New restrictions on pension benefits were recently announced in a notice (excerpts above) sent by our Society's Human Resources division on April 30, 2011. (Please click image to view larger version.)

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Dear John:

The HR notice says:
“It’s normal for a plan’s funding percentage to change from year to year.

It’s the long-term trends that matter the most.”

We hope, as you probably do, that these pension troubles are temporary.
But the fund’s “long-term trends” are largely dependent
upon your long-term plans for NGS.

Which begs the question:
Do you have a long-term plan for NGS?
If so, what is it?

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* For an extended refutation of Chris Johns’ claim that our Society has been “unbiased” for more than 120 years, please see this.

≡  photo of Chris Johns via Folio

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