Blog: Mobility and Portability

We should be wary of narratives that try to explain small differences in a grand fashion.
Pension analyses that ignore the effects on short- or medium-term workers are extremely incomplete.
A new Urban Institute brief suggests the vast majority of teachers will leave the profession with less than their own contributions.
We searched public pension plan documents to find what happens when teachers leave a pension plan. Although this this information is limited, some teachers prefer to cash out and take a lump-sum payment rather than waiting to draw a pension in retirement.
Last week I presented our work on teacher pensions at the Education Writer’s Association (EWA) 67th national seminar.
Federal and state leaders have recently proposed a variety of solutions intended to address the need for greater retirement security.
Many teachers get worse benefits than those offered in the private sector.
States have attempted to ameliorate the non-portability of pensions by “selling” service credit. Unfortunately, though, pension plans exact transaction costs on mobile teachers that significantly hamper their savings.
School administrators should warn all new teachers about the significant savings penalty they face because of high mobility rates and long service requirements to qualify for a pension.
When a teacher leaves the classroom, she may also leave the state or district retirement system. As a teacher leaves, what happens to her pension contributions?