Negative Returns: How State Pensions Shortchange Teachers

Research Report

Negative Returns: How State Pensions Shortchange Teachers

September 29, 2015

Abstract

Most teachers who retire with 30 or more years of service receive large pensions. However, teachers who complete fewer years of service and enter the classroom at relatively young ages usually receive much smaller pensions. This study finds that in half of states, at least 77 percent of teachers separate from their plan with a pension that is worth less than the value of their mandatory plan contributions. These teachers would have received more retirement benefits if they could have opted out of their retirement plan and invested their retirement contributions on their own.

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