Pension Cuts Have Public Employees Worried

The overwhelming majority worry that they will run out of money in retirement.

While it might be assumed that public employees, such as teachers, police and firefighters, are well covered by their pensions, they worry about their life in retirement, according to a survey by Prudential Retirement. Only 17% are very confident that they will have enough money to last them in the future.

Furthermore, according to the report, “Getting Back on Track: Financial Wellness in the Public Sector,” more than one in four said that receiving a pension plan was a significant factor that influenced their decision to pursue a career in the public sector, and nearly half say that if their pension were at risk, they might reconsider remaining in the public sector. This will make it difficult for states and municipalities that have cut back on their pensions to attract talent in the future, Prudential says.

“Those who devote their lives to public service deserve a secure future,” says Scott Boyd, head of tax exempt markets for Prudential Retirement. “Our survey highlights the need for the public sector to offer financial wellness solutions that address the retirement security issues of their workers. We will work with them to help make it happen.”

The survey also revealed that less than one third have money stored away for an emergency. Less than one in three feel confident about making retirement decisions. Conversely, only 18% feel confident about investing. Among those working with a financial adviser, 46% are confident about their retirement finances, whereas those without an adviser are slightly less confident, at only 33%. 

The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted the survey among 1,877 public sector workers for Prudential in March.