Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. 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, make sure you check out stories of public employees helping their communities.
Here are our top stories:
Can We Ever Retire to Greater Equality? By Sam Pizzigati. As the majority of the private sector shifted from defined-benefit retirement plans to defined-contributions, retirement security has become more scarce for working families. Unlike traditional pension plans, employees with 401(k)-style plans bear all the economic risk, posing a threat to retirement security. They contribute their dollars to their retirement savings, with employers contributing very little–if any at all. This article examines a recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College that found retirees are spending down their nest egg at alarming rates. The problem with 401(k)s is that retirees not only have to make sure they’ve saved enough to get through their post-work years, but they also have to figure out how much to withdraw each month. With all the expenses that come along with retirement, it is possible to outlive these savings. Gal Wettstein, a senior research economist at the Center for Retirement at Boston College, said, “One of the advantages of the pension system was that it reassured you how much you could afford to spend, practically, in that it would never run out, and in the advice-sense, too, because it says, ‘Here, you can spend this much, because next month, you’ll get the same amount again. A 401(k) doesn’t give you that.”
New Jersey’s public school system disfavors new and younger teachers by Patch. This Op-ed published in the Star-Ledger by the Sunlight Policy Center claims that younger generations seek “mobility” over stability, making pensions unsuitable for young workers. This accusation spreads the false narrative that pensions are not portable–a myth thrown around by anti-pension organizations repeatedly to mislead the public into believing that defined-contributions are better solution for states’ finances. Apart from their portability, pensions also serve as a huge retention and recruitment tool in public education, where most teachers make very little compared to their private-sector working counterparts. A report by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that switching newly hired public employees from a defined-benefit plan into a defined-contribution plan like a 401(k) negatively impacted recruitment and retention efforts in the public workforce, as seen in the state of Alaska. Another report from NIRS also found that millennials want pensions–71% of them stating they would be more likely to leave their jobs if their pensions were cut. Pensions are suitable for young workers because they allow them to save for retirement when they otherwise would not be able to contribute due to student loans and high housing costs.
Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!