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Confused about public sector retirement plans? You’re not alone. We’re here to help.

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What is the assumed rate of return?

The assumed rate of return is the single most important assumption that pension systems make to ensure they have enough funding to pay promised benefits.

Learn about the status of your state

Want to know how your state is managing its pension and retirement promises? Or how much employees have to contribute toward their pension and retirement benefits? Select a state to see a snapshot of your state's retirement system.

Pension Basics

There is important information that anyone with a pension should know so they are equipped to understand the benefit -- and the system that is providing it.

Pension Basics: How Pension Benefits Are Calculated

Pension benefits are typically a fixed monthly payment in retirement that is guaranteed for life. Some pension benefits grow with inflation. Other pension benefits can be passed on to a spouse or dependent. But pensions aren’t the only financial route to guaranteed lifetime income after you retire. What makes pensions unique is that the retirement […]

Pension Basics: Vesting

If you’re like most public workers, you probably have to work five to seven years before you can qualify for any pension benefits. Reaching this threshold is known as “vesting.” Before vesting, no pension benefits have been guaranteed. If individuals enrolled in a pension plan leave employment before vesting, they are only entitled to receive […]

Pension Basics: The Pension Funding Formula

How does a state, or the fund administering pension benefits, make sure it will be able to pay promised retirement income to public workers when they retire? The answer can be boiled down into a simple idea: retirement systems work to make sure that contributions into the pension fund, plus investment returns on that money, […]

The Pension Basics Series

Most public workers in America are enrolled in a pension plan. For those who work a full career in education, public safety, or other state and local government jobs, these pension benefits could provide them with guaranteed income for life once they retire. For those who leave early, their years of service may not be […]

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