Most Profs Confident about Retirement Security

November 1, 2007 ( - More than eight in 10 university professors contacted in a recent poll said they were confident they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.

A TIAA-CREF news release said 26% of the responding higher education workers declared themselves very confident and 57% somewhat confident of having a big enough nest egg when they stop working.

While 23% of faculty would like to retire before age 65, only 14% think they actually will, according to the poll. This pattern holds across the three generations. A significant percentage of faculty (37%) expect to retire at age 70 or later, according to the survey.

Some 40% said they would be very likely to take advantage of a phased retirement option if available when they were ready to retire.

“It is interesting that one-third of faculty believe the institution bears primary responsibility for ensuring they have enough money for a financially secure retirement,” said Paul Yakoboski, principal research fellow, TIAA-CREF, in the news release. “This response signals a need for educational efforts on the part of institutions to inform faculty about their retirement income, savings needs, the level of benefits that can realistically be expected from a defined benefit plan where applicable and Social Security.”

Across generations, the number one faculty retirement concern is having a long period of poor health and frailty: four in 10 of all faculty rate this as their biggest concern.

The survey, conducted by research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates, evaluated 300 full-time higher education faculty (ages 29 to 61) currently employed at four-year institutions through telephone interviews during August 2007. Results are reported for this population as a whole, and broken down for Early Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1954), Late Baby Boomers (born 1955 to 1964) and Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) faculty.

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