Retirement Benefit Decisions by City and County Governments

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The importance of supplemental retirement saving plans to public employees partly depends on the terms and generosity of the other retirement plans that their state or local government offers. This issue brief, the second in a three-part series, reviews the parameters of the primary retirement savings and retiree health insurance plans for 20 city and county governments across the country.

The brief examines each employer’s benefits to provide a background for the third brief in the series, which assesses worker participation in voluntary retirement plans. Key findings include:

  • Workers who work a full career in their city or county can expect a retirement income of between 45 and 80 percent of their pre-retirement income;
  • Career employees of local governments who participate in Social Security can expect retirement income replacement rates of 20 to 30 percentage points higher than employees whose governments do not participate in Social Security; and
  • These and other variations mean that many local workers will need to be disciplined about participating in saving plans, outside of their primary plans, to meet their retirement security goals.
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