Government Workers Also Feeling Retirement Pressure

September 13, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Sixty-one percent of state and local government employees in a recent poll said they are unsure or uncomfortable about their ability to set aside enough for retirement, according to ING.

An ING news release said 43% of survey respondents have become less confident about their savings since the market downturn, but 72% have not changed the amount they are investing to address these concerns.

The study findings also included:

  • 74% of state and local government employees consider themselves risk-averse in their personal lives, and 50% said they are financially conservative, preferring to protect their savings rather than assume the greater risk that comes with potentially higher investment growth.
  • 71% expect to receive a traditional defined benefit pension from their employer, and those eligible for this benefit believe it will make up more than half (54%) of their retirement income.   However, despite their reliance on an expected pension income, 49% are worried the amount could change during retirement, and 35% didn’t know how their benefit will be determined.
  • 64% reported having access to a voluntary retirement plan at the workplace (typically a 457 deferred compensation program).  Of this group, 74% said they are actively making contributions to these plans.  Half had less than $50,000 in their accounts, while 20% don’t know what their balance is.  More than half (51%) also said they would like to invest more into these plans, but for various reasons do not. 

“It’s clear that the burden of retirement planning has been increasing for all workers today— even the millions of government employees who have long relied on pensions as their main source of retirement income,” said Bill Jasien, head of government markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services, in the news release.  “As more government entities scale back on their pension programs to offset tight budgets and increased financial obligations, workers in this sector will need to better understand and leverage the savings opportunities offered by their employer’s defined contribution plans.”

The recent study, conducted in conjunction with market research firm, Synovate, polled more than 1,000 Americans holding government jobs across the country. The respondents were full-time workers between 20 and 70 years of age.

The study report is at http://ing.us/sites/ing.us/files/public_employees_white_paper.pdf.

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