Thinking Outside The Piggy Bank

Just a quick post today as I’m still playing catch-up after being away for part of last week. Fortunately, quick doesn’t mean insignificant as the topic I want to toss out is related to pensions.

Adaptistration People 123In light of the ongoing Chicago Symphony Orchestra work stoppage that hinges on the orchestra’s pension plan, I wanted to point out there is an alternative to traditional defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans: the Sustainable Income Plan (SIP).

This is at the heart of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s most recent collective bargaining agreement and back in the fall of 2018, I kept promising an extended article on the topic…that has yet* to materialize.

In hindsight, it sure would have been nice to have that as a resource now but the good news is the firm, Milliman, Inc., that came up with this new pension model has a superb introduction video that explains how it’s different and where it can provide both employer and employees with a mutually agreeable solution. It prevents employees from selling out future colleagues to protect their own defined benefit treasure while offering employers improved stability.

Give this video a watch and we’ll circle back soon enough on this topic.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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