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Pension Choices and the Savings Patterns of Public School Teachers

Dan Goldhaber () and Cyrus Grout ()
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Dan Goldhaber: Center for Education Data& Research University of Washington–Bothell Seattle, WA 98103
Cyrus Grout: Center for Education Data& Research University of Washington–Bothell Seattle, WA 98103

Education Finance and Policy, 2016, vol. 11, issue 4, 449-481

Abstract: This paper examines the savings behavior of public school teachers who are enrolled in a hybrid pension plan that includes a defined contribution (DC) component. Few states have incorporated DC features into teacher pension systems and little is known about how providing teachers with greater control over deferred compensation might affect their savings behavior—an important determinant of retirement security. We find the retirement savings choices of teachers—how much they opt to contribute to a DC retirement account—to be generally consistent with that of their peers in the private sector. In particular, age and salary are positively correlated with contribution rates, and contribution rates increase with teaching experience. Importantly, our analysis of retirement wealth suggests that Washington's hybrid plan is likely to provide a level of retirement security for a typical teacher that is comparable to or greater than that provided by the state's pure defined benefit plan.

Date: 2016
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