Pensions represent an important component of the County’s long term financial obligations. It is important to measure changes in the pension liability so that the County can best plan for the long-term. Three ways to look at the County's pension obligations are the pension funded ratio, unfunded actuarial accrued liability, and the net pension liability.

Pension Funded Ratio

A commonly reported piece of information regarding the retirement plan’s financial status is the funded ratio. The pension funded ratio compares actuarial assets to actuarial accrued liabilities. High ratios indicate a well-funded plan with assets sufficient to cover liabilities. Lower ratios may indicate poor asset performance, recent changes to actuarial assumptions such as reductions to the assumed rate of return, or a variety of other factors.
Source: San Diego County Employees Retirement Association 

Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability

Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability (UAAL) is the difference between the retirement plan’s actuarial accrued liabilities and plan assets.
Source: San Diego County Employees Retirement Association

Net Pension Liability

Net Pension Liability (NPL) is a financial metric reported in the County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which represents the value of retirement benefits that exceed resources available to fund them. The NPL differs from the UAAL in that it compares total pension liability and market value of assets. Only the County’s share of the NPL is reported in the CAFR.
Source: County of San Diego Comprehensive Annual Financial Report