Retirement & Financial Planning Report

The anxiety that federal employees and retirees are expressing about their retirement security in light of proposals to reduce the value of benefits and increase their cost to program participants is shared by employees of state and local governments, many of which already have imposed such changes.

A study by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence found that only 19 percent of surveyed employees are very confident about their retirement income, while 54 percent are only somewhat confident and 26 percent are not confident.

Those figures were based on an expectation that they will need to replace less than 60 percent of their current income as retirees—below standard benchmarks putting the needed income replacement at 70 or 80 percent, with some even higher.

As with federal employees, health care expenses are a major concern in retirement, with confidence levels regarding ability to pay those costs at about the same percentages. And they share the concern about the benefits they will get from Medicare, with two-thirds not confident that Medicare will be able to continue to provide benefits equal to those it provides today.

One way they expect to deal with the issue is also reflective of the federal workforce: working longer. Three-fifths said they expect to have to work longer than they wanted to, with half of those saying they will have to work at least five years longer.