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Cypen & Cypen
NEWSLETTER
for
MARCH 22, 2004

Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor

Never Forget - September 11, 2001

1. REAL ACTUARY STRIKES BACK AT DAVE BARRY:

Our readers may remember the piece about Dave Barry’s column in which he said he had named his car “The Actuary” because it was soooooo boring (see C&C Newsletter for July 3, 2003, Item 6). Now, Tom Bakos, a real actuary, responds: “I’m picturing Dave Barry driving his nondescript, dependable but boring car around Miami with the words ‘The Actuary’ stenciled on his driver’s side door, and I’m thinking Babe Magnet.” The author surmises that Barry doesn’t think actuaries in general are boring and that pension actuaries are the most boring of all. What Barry really thinks is that actuaries are funny and that pension actuaries are the funniest actuaries of all. Indeed, if he were just looking for boring, he would have named his car “Jell-O.” In fact, “Brown Jell-O” would have been even better. The author says that if one reads Barry’s piece carefully, one finds that Barry clearly uses the word “boring” to mean unexciting in a dependable sort of way. And that’s not bad -- at least not for a pension actuary. In fact, if you’re a pension actuary, it would be pretty good to have the reputation of being boring in a dependable sort of way. Yeah, right!

2. TOP 10 RETIREMENT WEBSITES:
Employee Benefit Advisor in its January/February 2004 issue lists the top 10 retirement websites. They are

1. AARP - Financial Planning - www.aarp.org/financial

2. About.com’s Guide to Retirement Planning - www.retireplan.about.com

3. American Savings Education Council - www.asec.org

4. CNN Money - www.money.cnn.com/retirement

5. Medicare - www.medicare.gov

6. MSN Money - Retirement and Wills - www.moneycentral.msn.com/retire/home.asp

7. The Motley Fool - www.fool.com/retirement

8. mPower Cafe- www.mpowercafe.com

9. SmartMoney - Retirement - www.smartmoney.com/retirement

10. Social Security Online - www.ssa.gov

As a convenience to our readers, we have added to our “Resource Links” page any of the above sites that already did not appear there.

3. MAN COLLECTS DEAD MOTHER’S PENSION FOR 18 YEARS:
A Boston man has been charged with cashing checks from the Illinois Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund meant for his mother. The only problem is that his mother had been dead for 18 years before the son reported her death, according to UPI. When fund officials found the mother’s name on a list of members who had died, they called the son and demanded to speak to his mother, but he said she had had a stroke and could not speak. The fund may have trouble collecting the $275,000 overpayment, as the son has filed for bankruptcy.

4. CAN YOU TOP THIS? DECEASED EMPLOYEE’S SON GOT HIS PENSION FOR 33 YEARS!:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that for more than 30 years, the City of Pittsburgh mistakenly issued pension checks to a dead man who would have been over 107 years old! The deceased refuse worker’s benefits should have ceased upon his death in 1970. The error was discovered during an audit, in which officials discovered the $500 monthly checks had been cashed by the decedent’s son. The son will probably not be charged because he was under the mistaken impression that benefits were to continue beyond his father’s death. Meanwhile, the pension board will attempt to recoup the $150,000 paid, by targeting banks where the checks were cashed.

Copyright, 1996-2004, all rights reserved.

Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.


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