In the first century AD, a lump-sum payment of 3,000 denarii would have represented a substantial amount of money — at least by working class standards.A single denarius equaled roughly a days’ wage for a common laborer; so at an eight percent discount rate (Homer and Sylla 1991), the pension would have yielded an annuity of roughly 66 to 75 percent of a laborer’s annual earnings.
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During its 1592-93 session, Parliament established “reliefe for Souldiours …
[who] adventured their lives and lost their limbs or disabled their bodies” in the service of the Crown (quoted in Clark, Craig, and Wilson 2003, p. Annual pensions were not to exceed ten pounds for “private soldiers,” or twenty pounds for a “lieutenant.” Although one must be cautious in the use of income figures and exchange rates from that era, an annuity of ten pounds would have roughly equaled fifty gold dollars (at subsequent exchange rates), which was the equivalent of per capita income a century or so later, making the pension generous by contemporary standards.
Over 90 percent of public sector workers are covered by an employer-provided pension plan, whereas only about half of the private sector work force is covered (Employee Benefit Research Institute 1997).
It should be noted that although today the term “pension” generally refers to cash payments received after the termination of one’s working years, typically in the form of an annuity, historically, a much wider range of retiree benefits, survivor’s annuities, and disability benefits were also referred to as pensions.
During the Revolutionary War the colonies extended this coverage to the members of their militias.
Several colonies maintained navies, and they also offered pensions to their naval personnel. military pensions have been continuously provided, in one form or another ever since.Indeed, they were often viewed as little more than spoils.Samuel Johnson famously described a public pension as “generally understood to mean pay given to a state-hireling for treason to his country” (quoted in Clark, Craig, and Wilson 2003, 29).This was a true retirement plan designed to reward and mollify veterans returning from Rome’s frontier campaigns.The original Augustan pension suffered from the fact that it was paid from general revenues (and Augustus’ own generous contributions), and in 5 AD (6 AD according to some sources), Augustus established a special fund () from which retiring soldiers were paid.No small amount of the turmoil accompanying the Republic’s decline can be attributed to this flaw in Roman public finance.