Welcome to October’s first edition of This Week in Pensions! This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement. 

Before you dive into our top stories from this week, check out our archive of stories of public employees helping their communities.

Here are the top stories from this week: 

The Forces Shaping Retirement in the 2020s by Catherine Siskos. In an article for Kiplinger’s, Siskos outlines several of the challenges facing workers nearing retirement in this decade. Chief among these difficulties, Siskos writes, includes a lack of retirement savings, “with people in their 60s reporting savings of only $25,500 more.” As a rising cost of living threatens the ability of workers to make ends meet, these savings do not go nearly far enough for employees to retire with security. Siskos notes that “gone are the days of retiring with a pension,” a grim reality for those in the private sector workforce. Fortunately, most of our country’s dedicated public employees still have access to a defined-benefit pension plan. Pensions offer the strongest pathway for retirement, as they distribute a modest (yet guaranteed) benefit that can help retired public employees afford the costs of everyday necessities critical to their well-being, such as groceries, healthcare, housing, and transportation. 

New Report Gives Low Grades to Most Teacher Retirement Systems by Kevin Mahnken. For a piece in the education news website the 74 Million, Mahnken amplified Bellwether Education Partners’ misleading new report on teacher pensions, which falsely claims most pension plans are in a state of supposed disarray. Last week, we covered in-depth about how the report from Bellwether Education Partners (an organization that has been critical of pensions) included several falsehoods about pensions’ capability to provide a secure retirement. These untruths included the argument that defined-benefit pensions are not portable, which is incorrect for several reasons, including all pension plans will refund public employees if they leave public service before retirement. Bellwether Education Partners has also stated that pension spending can threaten spending on public education, which the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) has revealed is not true in every state of the country. Finally, they also have compared states based on their unfunded liabilities, which is a misguided way to measure fiscal health as most plans are well-funded. Unfortunately, this article covering Bellwether’s latest “research” lacks the needed context and facts on how the vast majority of pension plans are well-maintained and a dependable part of public employees’ retirements. 

Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!