As teachers across the country mobilize for education funding and fair pay, pensions are high on their list of priorities. What they know from experience, and research confirms, is that pensions are a win-win for teachers and schools, delivering superior retirement security and retaining teachers for decades. Conversely, abandoning pensions in favor of 401(k) or cash balance plans would come at great cost to teacher livelihoods and erode education quality.
Research & Publications
The persistent concentration of financial assets among the wealthiest families, combined with anemic retirement savings among most households, poses a significant economic threat to the retirement security of many working Americans.
A new research brief finds that financial asset inequality among Americans continues to increase, and the inequality is consistent across generations. This wealth inequality, combined with dangerously low retirement savings among most households, poses a significant threat to retirement for working Americans.
In this data brief, we highlight the lack of retirement assets among private sector employees and working-age families in California based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and 2014 Survey on Income and Program Participation. It turns out that California private sector workers are not merely behind on saving for retirement; half do not own retirement assets and most are currently not saving for retirement at all.
Over half of California private sector employees age 25-64 aren’t enrolled in a retirement savings plan or pension, according to a new data brief by Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at UC Berkeley Labor Center. The brief provides a first-ever look at retirement assets—and the lack thereof—among private sector employees and working-age families in the state.
December 22, 2020
Older workers are facing fewer job prospects and higher COVID risks
December 1, 2019
Is it time to retire traditional teacher pension plans?
July 1, 2019
Half of California Private Sector Workers Have No Retirement Assets
September 25, 2019
Financial Asset Inequality and Its Implications for Retirement Security
Rhee told The Sacramento Bee the House retirement reform legislation, which passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a voice vote last month, “tinkers around the edges of the retirement system and will thus have a modest impact on household retirement assets.”
We have seen a steady increase in the share of older adults who are still working. Before the pandemic, about 13 percent of seniors aged 70 and older were working.
Nari Rhee: “If you claim Social Security before full retirement age, which at this point is 67, so if you do it at 62, when you’re first eligible, that can basically slash your monthly check compared to if you had waited until age 67.”
As a Black woman, I think every person of color should open a Roth IRA to take control of their retirement savings
Dr. Rhee’s data shows that workers of color are behind on saving for retirement — 38% of Black households and 31% of Latino households have some assets in a retirement account, compared to 63% of white households.