Equable Institute on June 24 launched the first edition of “The National Landscape of State Retirement Benefits,” a topline report of the quality of retirement benefits offered to public workers using the data included in the newly launched Retirement Security Report—an interactive tool that evaluates the quality of retirement benefits offered to public workers. Among the report’s findings is that a majority of public workers are not on a path toward adequate retirement income, and only 11 of the 335 public retirement systems currently open to new hires are serving Short-Term Workers (those who will leave before 10 years of service) well.

Other findings included in the report are:

  • Full Career Workers are served well by all plan types, including pension, defined contribution, guaranteed return, and hybrid plans. Individuals are very likely to accumulate adequate retirement income provided they spend their entire career covered by the same retirement plan.
  • Pension plans generally work well for Short-Term Workers if there is a high member contribution rate.
  • Only two state-sponsored retirement plans serve every public worker well, regardless of their career tenure: South Carolina Retirement System’s “Optional Retirement Plan” (a defined contribution plan) and Tennessee Retirement System’s “Hybrid Plan.”

You can download the report here. 

We hope the analysis will be used to help public workers and state legislatures make better informed choices when it comes to retirement benefits and funding in the face of a rapidly changing workforce.

This project is intended to be a living and ever-expanding resource. The underlying scoring system will be used to evaluate select proposed public retirement system legislation in the coming months. We will also periodically release further analyses of the underlying data and will be adding municipal and legacy plans to the Retirement Security Report in coming months.

All of the data included in the report, along with the scoring script is open-source and can be accessed here.