Retirement Research and Resources

September 22, 2021
A new analysis finds that through the first quarter of 2021, state and local retirement plans have accumulated assets of $5 trillion in defined benefit (DB) pension plans and $531 billion in defined contribution (DC) plans. Despite the early economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average funded ratio among state and local pension plans has held steady at 72% for plans included in the Public Plans Database (PPD).
August 17, 2020
A new analysis of local public pension plans indicates that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, local government pension plans will see virtually no change in their average funded ratio during fiscal year 2020. Moreover, projections indicate that local pensions are quite sustainable on a cash-flow basis, and most can pay benefits indefinitely […]
May 12, 2020
A new analysis of state and local public pension plans indicates that these retirement plans will end fiscal year 2020 with negative annual investment returns, reduced asset values, lower funded ratios and higher actuarial costs. Additionally, the research indicates that plan finances will continue to decline in the wake of the economic downturn. These findings […]
April 7, 2020
A new issue brief highlights changes in local government retirement plans as compared to state plans with respect to shifts away from traditional defined benefit structures. The key findings are: In 2018, 19 percent of large localities had a defined contribution (DC), cash balance, or hybrid plan for new hires, instead of a stand-alone defined benefit […]
March 1, 2020
As many state and local governments face inadequate funding levels for retiree healthcare obligations, a new report offers policymakers with a guide to individual Medicare marketplaces.
February 10, 2020
This issue brief discusses police and fire retirement benefits as a portion of overall compensation and local government expenditures. Other key factors explored are the expected and appropriate retirement age of public safety staff and whether or not Social Security is part of the total benefits package. Such context can be helpful in considering the […]
October 1, 2019
The funded ratio for public pension plans edged up slightly to 73 percent in fiscal year 2018. Additionally, research indicates that liability growth for the pension plans slowed dramatically from 2001 to 2018, but still exceeded asset growth over the period. This issue brief from SLGE and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College […]
Proactive pension management: A Guide for Elected Officials
September 17, 2019
A new report on proactive pension management from SLGE and AARP provides policymakers and stakeholders with an overview of the use of variable benefit and contribution arrangements in public pension plans. Under variable benefit and contribution arrangements, a pre-set formula drives occasional adjustments – increases or decreases – in retirement benefits and/or contributions to help […]
Map of State OPEBs and Unfunded Liabilities
July 21, 2019
As part of our ongoing research series, SLGE and the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) have compiled a state-by-state summary of other post-employment benefits (OPEBs), which is primarily comprised of retiree health care. This infographic shows per capita shares of unfunded liabilities, as well as current contribution levels. For current data on retirement […]
May 8, 2019
Representatives from SLGE and ICMA-RC discussed polling research on auto-enrollment in supplemental retirement plans in a webinar on May 7, 2019. Nearly half of state and local employees approve of auto-enrollment in defined contribution plans, known as Supplemental Retirement Plans (SRPs), and 77 percent would choose to stay in a plan if auto-enrolled. The research also […]
Nudging deferral rates with auto-enrollment in state and local supplemental retirement plans.
March 20, 2019
Nearly half of employees approve of auto-enrollment, 77 percent would stay in a plan if auto-enrolled, and higher default deferral rates result in respondents settling on a higher contribution rate.
Snapshot of state and local pension plans based on 2018 CAFRs
January 29, 2019
The Public Plans Database has been updated with state and local pension fund CAFR data from June 2018. This infographic displays the latest trends.