Travis Bayer


Despite playing a central role in many public and private employees' retirements, defined benefit pension plans are woefully underfunded. Moreover, the combination of a Baby Boomer retirement bulge and a struggling economy are putting even more pressure on defined benefit plans. This Note examines relevant background information regarding defined benefit pension plans and demographic data of the Baby Boomer generation. This Note then explores how and to what extent states and private employers have created contractual obligations through defined benefit plans and addresses what happens when those contractual obligations are breached. Finally, this Note suggests that litigation cannot provide a complete solution to pension under-funding and instead discusses and evaluates some of the options public and private pension systems have to combat potential disaster. This Note recommends linking retirement ages to average life expectancies and enforcing actuarial reductions based on early retirements as especially effective measures in combating the financial burden of Baby Boomer retirements.