Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement. We have gathered the top stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week.

News NIRS Report

A recent report titled “Closing the Gap: The Role of Public Pensions in Reducing Retirement Inequality” by the National Institute of Retirement Security (NIRS) revealed that public pension plans play a crucial role in providing retirement income for older Americans and act as a safety net against financial hardships, particularly for women, Blacks, Latinos, and individuals without a four-year college degree. 

Key findings of the report include: 

  1. Pensions effectively reduce poverty and near-poverty levels among retirees, regardless of race, gender, or educational attainment. 
  2. Public pension income is distributed more equally among recipients across different races and genders compared to private pensions and 401(k) plans. 
  3. The current pension benefits received by 23.2 million individuals aged 55 and above in the U.S. amount to $5.6 trillion in household wealth, elevating the middle class by 36% and narrowing the wealth gaps experienced by older families in terms of race and gender. 

These findings highlight how public pensions reduce retirement inequality and promote economic equity among various demographics. Read more on the report here. 

As Shortages Continue, States Navigate The Road Ahead

As employee shortages in public schools continue to plague districts accross the nation, lawmakers in Michigan are working to address the lack of educators by making it easier for retired public school employees to return to schools. Currently, retirees must wait nine months before returning to work in a school and collecting their pension simultaneously. However, House Bill 4752 seeks to provide more flexibility by allowing retirees to return before nine months if their earnings do not exceed $10,100 per calendar year. A substitute bill suggests raising the cap to $15,100 per calendar year.

While the bill has gained support, school district leaders argue that it may not be enough to incentivize retired teachers to return to classrooms, as many districts struggle to find enough educators. They are advocating for a higher income cap or a shorter waiting period to meet the urgent need for trained educators.

The proposal has sparked discussions about the potential impact on the state’s retirement system and the need to balance financial considerations with addressing critical staff shortages in education. As debates continue, it remains a critical issue to ensure that Michigan’s schools have the qualified staff they need to provide quality education.

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest in the fight for a secure retirement! For now, sign up for NPPC News Clips to receive daily pension news from across the country directly to your inbox.