Supplemental Retirement Plans Offered by City and County Governments

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As many local governments have reduced the level of pension benefits they provide to new hires, the importance of boosting savings through supplemental retirement plans has grown. However, very little is known about these plans.

This issue brief examines the structure and terms of supplemental savings plans offered by 20 cities and counties around the country. Of the local governments in the study, four do not participate in Social Security; all offer a defined benefit pension plan. Key findings include:

  • Fifteen of the local government employers offer only one type of plan; all 20 local government employers in the study offer at least one 457 savings plan.
  • Most plans allow loans.
  • Employers match employee contributions in just four plans.
  • Employees need more financial literacy and good information about plans to make optimal decisions when they have more choices to make.
  • More choices for employees may not be better if the quality of the plans, in terms of fees and investment options, is inferior to the quality of a more restricted access model.
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