Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Exit Strategy

ARCHIVES

Federal employees have an exit strategy. More than half -- 53 percent -- plan to retire by age 62. That's more than double the 24 percent of employees in the general workforce who are counting on retiring by then.

Younger out the door means longer in retirement. A full 38 percent of federal employees anticipate spending at least 25 years in retirement. Only 16 percent of general American workers think they'll spend that long after employment.

Federal employees have the means, too. Thirty-seven percent have accumulated more than $100,000 for retirement, compared to 23 percent of workers generally.

The Office of Personnel Management released the federal retirement statistics in August, compiled from a survey it conducted. Now a private think tank, the Employee Benefit Research Institute, has stacked OPM's results against similar questions from a survey of the general workforce, much of which is employed in the private sector. The comparison sheds new light on OPM's results.

Federal employees are a confident bunch when it comes to retirement. Almost half -- 49 percent -- said they are ahead of schedule in planning and saving. Only 7 percent of general workers put themselves in that category.

Institute researchers offered some reasons for that discrepancy. First, they noted a clear difference: the defined pension federal employees have in addition to a 401(k)-type plan -- a rare benefit for the general workforce. The number of private sector workers eligible to receive a traditional pension fell from 32 percent in 1993 to 21 percent in 2005, according to EBRI.

The second reason federal employees are better prepared for retirement: health care. Those who work in government for at least five years can keep their health insurance in retirement. Only 33 percent of private firms with 200 or more employees offered retiree health coverage in 2005, and the number is slipping fast. In 1991, 46 percent of these companies offered the insurance.

These two factors could explain why federal employees are so much more confident about retirement than other workers. Yet less than half of civil servants, or 48 percent, actually have taken the time to calculate how much money they will need once they leave. EBRI offers an online retirement calculator and OPM is designing one specifically for federal workers.

As James Sauber, research director for the National Association of Letter Carriers and chairman of the Employee Thrift Advisory Council, which provides advice for the federal employee 401(k)-style Thrift Savings Plan, said: "We're good savers, but we're just as bad at planning."

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.