Public retirees twice as rich?

October 17, 2011

Retirement benefits for state and local public workers are significantly higher than the package awaiting those in the private sector, a study tracing a 20-year trend suggests.

In an article for CalWatchdog, an independent investigative reporting group, Chriss Street said that for many retirees, “working as public servants literally turned into a gold mine.” Street is the former treasurer of Orange County.

The former official cited a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, “Comparing Wealth in Retirement: State-Local Versus Private Sector Workers.” The study demonstrates that spending more than half of one’s career as a state or local public employee translates into at least 18 percent more wealth at age 65.

That’s a bare minimum advantage, Street wrote: “Public-sector employees, since the peak of the stock markets in 2000, enjoyed the equivalent positive 10 percent yearly compounded investment return from defined benefit pensions — a total of a 235.8 percent increase.”

One of the biggest factors in that long-term growth was the predominance of the annual cost-of-living adjustment  enjoyed by virtually all public sector employees. The study concluded that public employees can expect at age 65 to be 77 to 86 percent richer than comparable private-sector workers — nearly twice as rich.

The report tracked more than 12,650 people in 7,600 households since 1992.

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Mrcyberdoc this is for you:


Each year CalPERS actuaries calculate a funded ratio—the ratio of market value of assets in the fund to the liabilities for each retirement plan. The funded ratios vary from year to year.

Funded Status of Retirement Plans by Member Category

 The funded ratios are based on the Market Value of Assets.

 There were five plans in the state category with funded ratios between 57 percent and 69 percent

as of June 30, 2010. The funded ratio for the state is an aggregate of all five plans.

 As of June 30, 2009, there were 2,039 plans with active members in the public agency category.

There were 1,590 plans in one of nine risk pools and 449 public agencies in non‐pooled plans.

For non‐pooled plans: about 98 percent of the plans were below 75 percent funded; about

2 percent of the plans was between 75 and 100 percent funded; and 0 percent

of the plans were 100 percent funded or better. All risk pools were between 57 percent and

70 percent funded.

Here is the link to mkanay’s California Public Employee Compensation web page. Browse around it if you want your eyes to pop out.