2016 Retirement Confidence Survey of the State and Local Government Workforce


This report examines the employment and retirement planning and saving experiences of state and local government workers, as well as confidence in their retirement income prospects.

Paul J. Yakoboski, Ph.D., Senior Economist, TIAA Institute Joshua M. Franzel, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, Center for State and Local Government Excellence
Publication date:
December 2016
Filed under:
Key findings:
The findings include:
  • One-third of public sector employees have been with their current employer for less than 10 years, and one-third for 20 years or longer. Approximately two-thirds do not expect to leave their current employer anytime soon.
  • Health insurance, retirement benefits, job security and salary are the most important job elements they would consider in deciding whether to switch employers.
  • The vast majority are covered by a primary defined benefit pension plan; almost 20 percent of these workers reported changes to these benefits over the past two years.
  • Two-thirds expect to receive retiree healthcare benefits from an employer when they retire; among these, one-quarter reported changes to their benefits over the past two years.
  • The typical state and local employee would like to retire at age 62, but expects to retire at 65.
  • Most public servants do not know how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement, nor have they planned and saved specifically for medical expenses in retirement.
  • Forty-four percent are very confident that they will receive all of the retirement plan benefits they have earned and 44% are somewhat confident. The analogous figures for retiree healthcare benefits are 30% and 54%, respectively. Their confidence in future Social Security and Medicare benefits is lower.
  • About 20 percent are very confident that they are saving and investing appropriately for retirement, with approximately 55 percent somewhat confident in their savings and investing.
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