Retirement & Financial Planning Report

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Defined contribution retirement programs such as the FERS and CSRS civil service benefits contribute greatly to wealth not just of the participant but also of that person’s family, a Congressional Budget Office analysis has found.

The report noted that over the 20 years studied ending last year the percentage of households with any type of retirement program held about steady at just above 60 percent, but in that time there was a shift in the private sector toward defined contribution programs—comparable to the federal TSP—and away from defined benefit programs.


Breaking down family wealth into four quartiles, it found that in each year over the period, having a defined benefit plan was most strongly associated with being in the top quartile while absence of such a plan was most strongly associated with being in the lowest quartile.

During that time, it added, the percentage of total wealth held by the top quartile rose from 78 to 85 percent while the percentage of the other three dropped.

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