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The Retirement Security Report: An interactive index of the quality of public retirement plan benefits

The Retirement Security Report is an interactive, digital evaluation of the quality of retirement benefits offered to public workers nationwide using customizable score cards for all 335 statewide retirement plans currently open to new hires. The RSR is focused on determining whether individual plans are providing public workers with a path to retirement income security, showing how well plans work depending on career tenure and age.

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The Contribution Rate Just Keeps Growing


July 20, 2022

Introducing State of Pensions 2022

Today, Equable Institute issued its annual report on public pension trends in the U.S., State of Pensions…
July 19, 2022

The Best U.S. States for New Teacher Retirement Benefits

There are lots of factors that new, prospective K–12 teachers have to consider when entering the education…
June 22, 2022

Retirement Security Report Teacher Edition: Comprehensive Plan Scores

The Retirement Security Report Teacher Edition analyzes the state of teacher retirement benefits in the…
May 20, 2022

Who Benefits? How Teacher Pension Financing Impacts Student Equity in Connecticut

Depending on the state you live in, school districts themselves may not actually be paying for the costs of…
May 10, 2022

Kentucky House Bill 258: Retirement Security Policy Scores

Kentucky has made changes to retirement plan provisions for its Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS), as…
May 9, 2022

Florida House Bill 5007: Retirement Security Policy Scores

Florida has made changes to retirement plan provisions for the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Investment…
May 6, 2022

Texas Senate Bill 321: Retirement Security Policy Scores

Texas has made changes to retirement plan provisions for its Employees Retirement System (TXERS), as…
May 1, 2022

Alabama House Bill 134: Retirement Security Policy Scores

Alabama has made changes to retirement plan provisions for its Teachers’ Retirement System (ALTRS), as…
December 21, 2021

Equable and Columbia Law School Partner to Detail States’ Pension Governance

Understanding the legal environment for pension policies can be confusing for both lawmakers and public…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Alabama’s Public Pensions

Alabama teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Arizona’s Public Pensions

Arizona teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Arkansas’s Public Pensions

Arkansas teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Delaware’s Public Pensions

Delaware teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Idaho’s Public Pensions

Idaho teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are entitled…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Iowa’s Public Pensions

Iowa teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are entitled…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Marlyand’s Public Pensions

Maryland teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Massachusetts’s Public Pensions

Massachusetts teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Nevada’s Public Pensions

Nevada teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for North Carolina’s Public Pensions

North Carolina teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Oklahoma’s Public Pensions

Oklahoma teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Virginia’s Public Pensions

Virginia teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for West Virginia’s Public Pensions

West Virginia teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
November 20, 2021

Infographic: The Protections for Wisconsin’s Public Pensions

Wisconsin teachers’, public safety officers’, and public workers’ pension benefits are…
September 28, 2021

Current Assumed Rate of Return for State Pensions

The median assumed rate of return for state defined benefit retirement plans in the United States is 7%, as…
September 23, 2021

Introducing State of Pensions 2021

State of Pensions 2021 is an annual report on the status of statewide public pension systems, put into a…
September 3, 2021

Equable Public Retirement Research Database

There are over 340 sets of benefit provisions available to new hires in the public sector, as of August 2021…
August 13, 2021

CalPERS Strong Investment News Triggers Lower Assumed Rate of Return

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System recently announced good news—it is lowering their…
July 20, 2021

An Open Letter to Public Retirement Systems

Dear Public Retirement System Trustees, Chief Officers, and Executive Directors, A few years ago I was…
August 18, 2020

State of Pensions 2020: Great Recession Lessons Learned for Public Pensions in the Age of COVID-19

There are many unknowns in the Age of COVID-19, but fortunately when it comes to forecasting what is likely…
August 18, 2020

State of Pensions 2020 Explained: Unfunded Liabilities as a Share of State Economic Output

A common metric for measuring the fiscal health of a pension plan is the . But on its own this metric…
May 22, 2020

Could States Save Money if Raises During a Recession Were Designated as Non-Pensionable?

Pension funds lose assets in a market downturn[1] Due to the nature of defined benefit plans, the system…
May 14, 2020

Funding Ratio for State Pensions Plans Lowest in 30 Years

The aggregate funding ratio for U.S. state pension plans decreased by 12.2 percentage points to 62.6% during…
May 14, 2020

LA Considering a Pension Commission to Review Its $9 Billion Shortfall

The City’s Annual Required Contributions to its two pension funds have increased 56% ($475 million) since…
May 14, 2020

New Jersey Likely to Reduce Pension Contributions

New Jersey is highly likely to reduce or delay its public pension contributions because of the coronavirus,…
April 29, 2020

Previewing the COVID-19 Impact on State Pension Plans

Before the coronavirus pandemic, state public pension debt was already over $1 trillion nationally and…
April 29, 2020

COVID-19 and the Public Pension Crisis

Don Boyd, co-director of the State and Local Government Finance Project at the Center for Policy Research at…
April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Exacerbates Plight of New Jersey’s Pension System

New Jersey’s murky financial outlook did not get any clearer when the State Treasury released its monthly…
April 22, 2020

How Much is America’s Public School Pension Funding Shortfall?

Given the sophistication of finance in the 21st century, it is reasonable to think that America has a good…
April 21, 2020

Public Pension Index Falls $500 Billion During 2020 Q1, Says Milliman

The first quarter of 2020 was overrun by the economic impact of COVID-19. Right off the heels of a Q4 2019…
April 20, 2020

The Effects of COVID-19 on NYC Teachers’ Pension Fund Pose Risk to City

New York University (NYU) has issued a report saying the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System’s…
April 20, 2020

South Dakota Retirement System Trustees Considering Eliminating COLA, Among Other Changes

Significant revisions could be coming to keep solvent South Dakota’s public pension system that covers…
April 17, 2020

Dive Deeper: Hidden Education Funding Cuts

Equable’s report on Hidden Education Funding Cuts covers a lot of public policy topics, including public…
March 30, 2020

Riverside County May Borrow $727M via Bonds to Lower Pension Debt

Riverside County could issue almost $730 million in bonds to whittle down its $3.5 billion pension debt, a…
February 25, 2020

New Mexico’s PERA Reform Bill Clears House

A plan that would increase contributions from public workers and the state to the Public Employees Retirement…
February 25, 2020

Sweeney to Back Murphy Millionaires Tax in Exchange for Increased Public Worker Pension Funding

After two years of opposition, New Jersey’s most powerful state lawmaker will consider working with Gov.…
February 21, 2020

Impacts of Proposed Changes to Teachers Retirement System in Georgia

During last year’s legislative session, Georgia’s House Retirement Committee requested cost estimates of…
February 19, 2020

Proposal to Increase State Employee Contributions to Pension Fund Raises Alarm

Every day during the legislative session, Gov. Mark Gordon has held a conference call with each member of his…
February 12, 2020

Pension Fund Troubled as One in 5 MBTA Retirees is Under 50

More than one in every five MBTA pensioners retired before age 50 as the state increasingly has to pick up…
February 12, 2020

Pension Contributions Increase for Arkansas Districts and Teachers

The board of trustees of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System approved a slight but expected increase in…
February 12, 2020

California Supreme Court To Decide On The “California Rule”

The California Supreme Court will soon schedule oral argument in controversial cases involving legislative…
February 4, 2020

Proposal to Reform New Mexico’s Public Pension Plan Advances

Legislators advanced a proposal to reform New Mexico’s public pension plan for state and local government…
February 3, 2020

Many California Cities Project Higher Pension Bills in Upcoming Years

Cities across California are beginning to draft their fiscal blueprints for the next year — and for…
January 31, 2020

Calm Amid the Chaos: Wisconsin’s Pension System and the 2008 Financial Crisis

Download The Case Study | Calm Amid the Chaos: Wisconsin’s Pension System and the 2008 Financial Crisis…
January 29, 2020

New Jersey Public Pension System Plans to Lower Assumed Rates of Return

Later this year, New Jersey will begin a planned lowering of the public-employee pension system’s assumed…
January 22, 2020

Pension Liability Payments Grab Big Share of Limited State Revenue

When Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the curtain on his fiscal 2021 budget this week, many Beacon Hill observers are…
January 21, 2020

KPERS Trustees Decide to Maintain 7.75% Rate of Return Assumption

Trustees of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System on Friday decided to retain the current 7.75%…
January 17, 2020

The Texas Pension Review Board Provides A Model for Nationwide Reform

State and local pension plans face huge challenges: costs have skyrocketed, debt is at historic levels, and…
January 14, 2020

Research Group Has Bleak Outlook on Arizona State Retirement System

The Arizona Chamber Foundation (ACF), a research group, decries the Arizona State Retirement System’s…
January 14, 2020

Pension Funds Lower Assumed Rates of Return as Economic Growth Slows

Investment returns make up more than 60 percent of the revenues that public pension plans need to ensure…
December 20, 2019

Pennsylvania School Pension Bill Less Than Expected

Pennsylvania’s school districts can expect to pony up more money to cover for their pension costs next…
December 20, 2019

Moody’s Investors Service Highlights Investment Risk for Public Pensions

While contributions to state and local pension plans are growing steadily, there remains considerable…
November 13, 2019

Leaders Ignored Teacher Pension Debt. Now There’s Less Money for Teacher Salaries and Students.

Bring up the issue of teacher pension debt and most educators quickly lose interest. That’s a mistake, as…
November 12, 2019

Arizona Funded Status Methodology

The Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) is funded using contributions from the state budget, local…
November 11, 2019

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Grapples With High Pension Debt

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is grappling to find ways to combat rising pension costs, and close the city’s…
October 25, 2019

Maryland School Finance Inequity is Worse Because of Pension Debt Payments

Most state pension funds are not at risk of running out of money in the next few decades, which is a good…
October 24, 2019

Funded Status Updates for State and Local Pension Plans

The Center for State & Local Government Excellence, together with the Center for Retirement Research at…
October 24, 2019

Effects Of The Next Recession Partly Mitigated by U.S. State Pension Reforms

S&P recently released a report that suggests that U.S. state pension reforms may mitigate the effects of…
October 3, 2019

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Board Plans Pension Cuts

After years of wrangling with its creditors, Puerto Rico disclosed a plan Friday for resolving the biggest…
October 3, 2019

Washington State Votes Against Reducing Pension Risk

In a 3-3 vote, the state Pension Funding Council rejected a motion at a Sept. 30 meeting to lower the assumed…
September 16, 2019

A History of Growing Benefits

At the turn of the millennium, public pensions seemed to be riding high. By their own accounting, most such…
September 16, 2019

Consensus Building and Reform for Public Pension Systems

When public pension systems were created in the 1950s and 1960s, these plans were generally small and they…
September 11, 2019

How Long Does it Take to “Breakeven” on a Pension

By offering lifetime retirement benefits based on service years and final average salaries, defined benefit…
September 11, 2019

How Teacher Pension Plans Affect Recruitment, Retention, and Equity

Fed up with stagnant salaries, teachers have gone on strike all across the country over the past few years.…
September 11, 2019

Legal Protection for Public Pensions

The nation’s public retirement systems have emerged from a decade of unprecedented changes to benefit…
September 11, 2019

Teacher Recruiting and Retention, What Does the Evidence Say?

How do retirement plans affect teacher recruitment and retention? What happens to the teacher workforce when…
September 11, 2019

The Value of Stress Testing Pension Plans

The pension system for state workers in New Jersey is so underfunded that it could run out of money in 12…
September 11, 2019

When Do Public Pensions Encourage Early Retirement?

As more baby boomers reach their 60s and late 50s, many state and local governments risk a mass exodus of…
September 9, 2019

Arizona’s Contribution Rate Just Keeps on Growing

Download The Report | The Contribution Rate Keeps on Growing: Why Persistent Pension Debt Has Created…
September 3, 2019

Lessons from Closing the West Virginia Teachers’ Retirement System

One of the first states to attempt improving the sustainability of its teacher pension plans was West…
August 26, 2019

Ultralow Interest Rates Aren’t All Good

U.S. infrastructure is in dire need of an overhaul; the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates a…
August 26, 2019

Assumed Returns for Pension Plans Often Unrealistic

American state and local pensions have less than 73% of the assets they need to fund future obligations to…
August 26, 2019

Why Michigan’s 2017 Pension Reform Helps Teachers

Teaching in Michigan is about to become a lot more attractive. Recently enacted legislation will improve…
August 26, 2019

Comparing State Funding Policies to S&P Global Measurement of Best Practice

S&P Global Rating’s analyzes state and local pension plans from the perspective municipal bond holders,…
August 26, 2019

Why Funded Status Matters

The healthiest year on record for U.S. pension funds was 2001, when collectively the major retirement systems…
August 21, 2019

Template for Collaborative Pension Reform

In 2016, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed comprehensive pension reform legislation for public safety…
August 21, 2019

Are Public or Private Pension Funded Ratios Caused by their Discount Rate?

When it comes to funding defined benefit pension plans, it is commonly understood that the used to compute…
August 21, 2019

A Tangled Web of Factors Causing Inappropriate Pension Funding Behavior

The Actuary Civil War of 2016 that broke out this past summer between the Society of Actuaries and American…
August 21, 2019

Texas Teachers Retirement System Has a $46 Billion Shortfall

As the session nears its end, the Texas Legislature faces the decision either to act responsibly and begin to…
August 21, 2019

Retirement Security Requires Fully Funding Public Pension Plans

Public employee pension plans around the country are facing a shortfall of at least $1 trillion, and some of…
August 21, 2019

Pension Crisis Deepens, Outlook Dim

Public pensions across the U.S. have a big problem: The gap between their assets and liabilities is growing…
August 21, 2019

Florida Retirement System Investments are Underperforming

This fall, Florida’s top pension plan investment manager is singing the praises of his fund that…
August 21, 2019

Failing to Adequately Fund Texas TRS Harms Teachers and Taxpayers

As the session nears its end, the legislature faces the decision to either act responsibly and begin to…
August 21, 2019

Research Shows US Pension Shortfall

Research by IMF economists indicates that government employee pension fund assets are significantly smaller…
August 19, 2019

Fitch: Arizona Riskiest Pension Investor in Nation

Fitch Ratings released a report last week evaluating the asset allocations of the largest public sector…
August 19, 2019

The Growing Costs of Arizona’s State Retirement System are Crowding Out Teacher Pay and Education Finances

The Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) provides retirement income for nearly 150,000 former teachers,…
August 19, 2019

Everything Has to Go Exactly Right for Arizona’s Pension Plan to Avoid a Sustainability Crisis

We all make assumptions in life. We assume that when we flip a light switch that the electricity will work.…
August 19, 2019

Why Equable Institute Cares about Retirement Security

For America’s states and local governments to function properly and thrive — that is, to provide…
August 19, 2019

Lessons from Closing the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System

When pension plans are struggling with solvency, a common proposal is to close the pension plan. However,…
August 19, 2019

The 80% Pension Funding Standard Myth

An 80% funded ratio often has been cited in recent years as a basis for whether a pension plan is financially…
August 19, 2019

How Unfunded Pension Costs Threaten Educational Equity

School districts’ unfunded pension and benefit costs are rapidly increasing at a rate that will become…
August 19, 2019

Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits: 2019 Update

State and local governments are on the hook to pay retirement benefits to public employees such as teachers…
August 19, 2019

Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits

The unfunded obligations of the pension systems sponsored by state and local governments in the United States…
August 19, 2019

Pension Funds Are Lowering Their Expectations of Private Equity

A number of pension funds are lowering their return expectations for private equity at a time when officials…
August 19, 2019

CalSTRS Board Member Questions the Risk of Private Equity Investment

CalSTRS’ investment committee Thursday approved a new private equity investment policy, adopting a new…
August 15, 2019

Measuring the Sustainability of Public Wealth in the United States

“This paper analyses the evolution of the United States’ public sector balance sheet and projects it…
August 15, 2019

Why States Don’t Pay Their Pension Bills

One of the primary factors driving state and local unfunded pension liabilities is the failure of governments…
August 14, 2019

Largest Pension Plans Underperformed on Investments in 2019

Public pension plans fell short of their projected returns this year, adding to the burden on governments…