Retirement & Financial Planning Report

More households approaching retirement are now saving for it but nearly half of them still lack those savings, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The report also once again underscores the relative scarcity of defined benefit programs comparable to the CSRS and FERS programs. Such plans have been largely replaced, if at all, in the private sector by defined contribution programs comparable to the TSP.

GAO was asked to update an earlier report in which it had found that as of 2013, 52 percent of households age 55 and older had no retirement savings; 29 percent of those also had no defined benefit plan while the remainder did have such a plan. As of 2016, it said in the new report, 28 percent of such households had no retirement savings, with the same 29 percent having no defined benefit plan, either.

Another 26 percent now have retirement savings but no defined benefit plan, up from 23 percent in the prior report, while 26 percent have both, up from 25 percent.

In the federal government, virtually all employees have FERS or CSRS defined benefit coverage and all are eligible for the defined contribution TSP. All FERS employees have accounts by virtue of the automatic government 1 percent of salary contribution, and 90 percent further invest from their own money, providing them with matching contributions, as well. The small percentage of active employees under CSRS receive no government contributions, and only about two-thirds have accounts.