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Cost of California Dream: $75,000

The unfunded pension liabilities in California will cost almost $1 trillion, or $75,000 for each household in the Golden State as of 2013, according to, a new website developed by Stanford professor Joe Nation.

That’s likely a sobering number for a state that was thought to have been doing well recently, and might have anticipated better results after a surging market that did not actually seem to help, according to Nation.

Users can filter by county, state and special district to find data based on comprehensive sources and analysis including CalPERS, 63 independent pension systems, state agencies and the U.S. Census Bureau. It does not include the teacher or university systems.

It is difficult at times to trust that the research created by the industry or supposedly independent groups funded by the industry does not have a hidden agenda, even if it’s in the way the data is presented or the questions are framed. That’s why many people only trust independent academic studies where the researcher has more to lose if the methodology is questionable or tainted. So the Stanford California Pension Tracker is important to understanding the real situation that the Golden State (joined by other states) finds itself in.

Contributors to the research included William Sharpe; 2014 and 2015 results are due out soon. Probably will not be as sunny as the southern California weather.