Survey Finds Federal Workers Share Poor Retirement Planning With All Workers, but Have More Savings; and Facts from EBRI: Employer Spending on Benefits, 2005

December 2006, Vol. 27, No. 12
Paperback, 12 pp.
PDF, 230 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2006

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Executive Summary

Survey Finds Federal Workers Share Poor Retirement Planning With All Workers, but Have More Savings:


Higher expectations, same bad planning: A survey of the federal civilian work force shows that federal workers expect to retire earlier than American workers as a whole and say they have saved more money—but are almost as bad at planning for retirement as all workers. Results of the online survey of federal civilian workers by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) allow a number of comparisons between the retirement preparations and savings habits of federal workers and American workers as a whole, as measured by the 2005 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) conducted by EBRI and Mathew Greenwald & Associates.


Ahead of schedule: Federal workers believe they are better prepared for retirement than American workers. Nearly half (49 percent) of federal workers said they were ahead of schedule—by either a lot or a little—in their planning and saving for retirement, while just 7 per-cent of all American workers said they were ahead of schedule by a lot or a little.


Poor planning is common: Despite their belief that they are better prepared, less than half (48 percent) of federal workers have actually calculated how much money they will need in retirement—just 6 percentage points more than all American workers in general. Even though they expect to retire earlier, federal workers who have done a retirement needs calculation do not think the amount of money they will need in retirement will be substantially different from American workers.


Facts from EBRI: Employer Spending on Benefits, 2005:


Total compensation hits $7 trillion: In 2005, employers spent $7.0 trillion on total compensation, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Wages and salaries accounted for the lion’s share, $5.7 trillion (or 80.6 per-cent), while benefits made up the remainder, $1.4 trillion (19.4 percent).


Health benefit costs overtaking retirement: Retirement benefits remain the largest single sector of benefits expenditures by employers, although health benefits have been catching up.