Pension Education Toolkit

Pension Education Toolkit
Learn how pensions are funded and how they impact the economy.
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Public pensions are a hot topic in the news, so we developed this Pension Education Toolkit to help deepen your understanding of defined benefit public pension plans. Supplemental information is found on our Facts & Research page. Additional data is available through our Public Pension Partners.

Recession and Market Decline Impacts on Public Pension Plans

Recession and Market Decline Impacts on Public Pension Plans – Recent volatility in the stock market should not have a large impact on the financial strength of public pension plans over the long term, according to a June 2020 report by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA). While global equity markets dropped in late March, they had recovered much of their losses by early June, the report found. NASRA also said investment returns would likely recover sooner than they did during the two previous financial crises in 2000-02 and 2007-09.

Unintended Consequences: How Scaling Back Public Pensions Puts Government Revenues at Risk

Unintended Consequences: How Scaling Back Public Pensions Puts Government Revenues at Risk – Investments by public pension plans as well as spending by public retirees provide a huge boost to the economy and government tax revenues, according to a May 2020 study by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS). Without those plans, state and local governments in 2018 would have had to increase taxes by $179.4 billion just to maintain current public services, the study said.

Teachers' Views on Jobs, Pay and Benefits

Teachers' Views on Jobs, Pay and Benefits – Despite feeling their jobs are stressful, teachers nationwide say both their public pension plan and their commitment to public service keep them in the classroom. Their opinions mirror those of other public sector workers also surveyed in a new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).

Peaceful Coexistence: The Facts about Pensions and Education Funding

Peaceful Coexistence: The Facts about Pensions and Education Funding – This 2019 study by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) refutes critics who argue that public pension costs are crowding out education spending. The real funding squeeze, says the study’s author, is caused by frequent tax changes and risky, regressive revenue schemes that destabilize revenue for state and local governments.

The Implications of Social Security’s

The Implications of Social Security’s "Missing Trust Fund" – The 2019 study debunks the myth that Baby Boomers are to blame for the financial shortfall facing Social Security and points out that the root of the problem was created in the late 1930s when policy makers decided to pay the first retirees benefits that far exceeded the contributions they made to the system. Failing to build up a trust fund – like NYSTRS and other well-funded defined benefit pension plans have done – that could be invested to pay future benefits created a "pay-as-you-go" approach for Social Security, according to the study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

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