• This paper uses a policy change in California to show that the extreme rewards and penalties built into existing defined benefit teacher pension systems do affect teacher retirement behavior.
  • The Public Fund Survey is an online compendium of key characteristics of most of the nation’s largest public retirement systems. This report focuses on fiscal year 2012. This summary describes changes in selected elements of the survey, including funding levels, membership, contribution rates, investment returns, and investment return assumptions.
  • While private-sector pension costs have been relatively stable over the last decade at around 10.5 percent of salaries, public school pension costs have climbed from 11.9 percent of salaries in March 2004 to 14.6 percent in 2008 to 17.0 percent in 2013. In other words, the gap between public school teachers and private sector professionals and administrators has increased from 1.9 to 6.4 percent of salaries.
  • This paper uses New Jersey as an example to show that the actuarial assumptions underlying some state pension reforms rely on contributions from new and younger employees to pay off unfunded liabilities owed to workers hired before the reform. Thus, rather than benefiting from any state contribution to their pensions, many new workers are scheduled to be net contributors over their careers. That is, they will get back only their own contributions plus interest, but compounded at a lower rate of return than the state assumes it will earn on plan assets.
  • This report examines the readiness of working-age households, based primarily on an analysis of the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) from the U.S. Federal Reserve. It found that more than 38 million working-age households (45 percent) do not own any retirement account assets, and the average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included, the median retirement account balance is only $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households.