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The Truth about Teachers' Retirement

  • Teachers and public employees are being scapegoated for problems caused by Wall Street, and pensions are being used as a wedge issue to divide working class Americans. Why the attack on public employee pensions? Who really benefits by their elimination? The answer is Wall Street. The elimination of public pension systems would be a huge boon for financial planners and companies that stand to invest that money while making profit off of the fees they can charge each individual. And politicians are using pensions to attack collective bargaining and weaken unions. That public employees are being portrayed in the media as "the haves" is simply ludicrous. It’s time to set the record straight.

     Teachers contribute to their retirement.

     Teachers do not retire into a life of luxury. The average monthly benefit is $3,300.

     The California Teachers Retirement System is aggressively against pension "spiking".

     CalSTRS members do not contribute to or receive Social Security.

    All Californians should have a safe and secure retirement. The real problem is not that teachers, firefighters and other public servants have pensions ("defined benefit plans"), the problem is that private sector workers do not. That’s because the private sector systemically eliminated defined benefit pension plans in favor of risky 401(k) plans - reducing costs to corporate America at the expense of the American worker. Instead of attacking teachers over the retirement benefits that they have earned, we should be having discussions about how to create better retirement options for everyone. Read more

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Research & Data

  • Financial Security Scorecard: A State-by-State Analysis of Economic Pressures Facing Future Retirees
    A new analysis finds that nearly every state falls short in key areas that measure retirement readiness.
  • Retirement Inequality Chartbook
    How the 401(k) revolution created a few big winners and many losers
  • CalSTRS Report on funding defined benefit plan
    California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) Board has released its report about how the multi-billion dollar pension system can continue funding its defined benefit plan.
  • Pensionomics
    A new national economic impact study finds that DB pension benefits have a significant economic impact: 6.5 million American jobs and $1 trillion in economic output.
  • CalSTRS Reports
    Every State Senate and Assembly district contains hundreds or thousands of teachers. Cumulatively, teachers contribute a significant portion of economic revenue towards their communities.
  • Addressing Media Misconceptions
    Everyone who pays attention to the news has noticed the drumbeat of reports urgently warning that the public pension system is perched on the brink of disaster and that it will soon collapse, bringing a number of state and local governments down with it. These stories are based on questionable research from self-proclaimed experts in public finance, and their predictions have created misconceptions about the health and future of the public-sector pension system.
  • Research suggests different story on teacher pensions
    After being given a 401(k)-type plan, over 75% of West Virginia's younger teachers decided to make the switch back to the Teachers Retirement System pension plan.
  • Who killed the private sector Defined Benefit plan?
    In recent decades, defined benefit pension coverage has declined for private sector workers. Funding volatility is the primary culprit, not pension costs. Check this brief for opportunities to reverse the trend.
  • The History of the CalSTRS Portfolio
    Learn the history of the California State Teachers' Retirement System Investment Portfolio.
  • The Retirement Crisis: Is it worse than we think?
    The shift from Defined Benefit pensions to Defined Contribution plans has significantly eroded the retirement readiness of Americans.

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