Zachary Christensen is a managing director of the Pension Integrity Project and a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation.
Christensen and Reason's Pension Integrity Project aim to promote solvent, sustainable retirement systems that provide retirement security for government workers while reducing taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and reducing long-term costs for employers/taxpayers and employees. The project team provides education, reform policy options, and actuarial analysis for policymakers and stakeholders to help them design reform proposals that are practical and viable. The Pension Integrity Project has provided technical assistance to several successful pension reform efforts in recent years, including in Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, South Carolina and other states tackling persistent pension solvency challenges.
Christensen's work has been published in the Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, NJ.com, Colorado Politics, and many other publications. He has also been featured in the Carolina Journal and the Michigan Capitol Confidential. His research has been published by the Hoover Institution, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Rio Grande Foundation.
Prior to joining Reason Foundation, Christensen was a pension finance analyst at the Hoover Institution, where he worked on widely-cited research on the funding status and accounting methods for public sector retirement systems.
Christensen holds an M.S. in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and a B.S. in Political Science from Brigham Young University.
Examining the City of Mesa and How Pension Debt Drives Rising Costs for Arizona Municipal Governments
The city’s total payments to ASRS and PSPRS have skyrocketed from less than $4 million per year in 2001 to more than $57 million in 2018.
Examining Coconino County and How Pension Debt Drives Rising Costs for Arizona Municipal Governments
Coconino County’s total payments to ASRS and PSPRS have skyrocketed from about $0.8 million per year in 2001 to more than $13 million in 2018.
Examining Maricopa County and How Pension Debt Drives Rising Costs for Arizona Municipal Governments
The county’s total payments to ASRS and PSPRS have skyrocketed from about $10 million per year in 2001 to more than $142 million in 2018.
CalPERS achieved an investment return of 6.7 percent during the latest fiscal year, and similarly, CalSTRS saw a 6.8 percent net return, both short of the 7 percent benchmark established by their managing boards.
Pension Reform Newsletter: California’s Risk, Reforms for New Mexico, Arizona’s Credit Upgrade, and More
Plus: Why millennials should worry about public pension debt, how overly optimistic investment return assumptions are hurting Florida, and the latest on Louisiana's pension system for teachers.
Missing the mark on investment return assumptions has added $17 billion to the Florida Retirement System's unfunded liability over the past decade.
Pension boards prioritizing social change do a disservice to the workers expecting pensions and to the taxpayers responsible for unfunded pension debt.
Bad investment return news for Texas and other states, why pension systems should avoid politically-motivated divestment policies, and more.
The pension plan has less than 60 percent of the money it needs to pay for the benefits that have already been promised to public workers.