AARP conducted a survey of 500 Puerto Rico residents age 45 and older to explore their opinions of the Island's public employee pension fund (the Employee Retirement System or ERS) as it stands; and possible options to strengthen it.
Some major themes emerged:
- Adults in Puerto Rico are anxious about their own retirement. Three-fourths of Island residents age 45 and older are concerned about having enough for retirement.
- Only about a third have traditional pensions provided by an employer. Yet, this is three times the number of Puerto Ricans in our sample who had other types of retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or personal IRA.
- Puerto Ricans support pension benefits for public employees. Puerto Rican residents believe that public employees should have good retirement benefits, even if it means higher costs to taxpayers – rather than cutting benefits to reduce taxes.
- Lack of funding for public pensions is considered a serious problem by an overwhelming majority of adults 45+.
- Island residents recognize public pension reform is needed and moreover, believe retiree benefits are already too low. The vast majority believe the retirement system is in need of major changes.
- More than half say public employees receive too little in retirement benefits.
- An overwhelming majority believes government waste and mismanagement is a problem for Puerto Rico.
- Government waste and mismanagement is far more likely to be viewed as a serious issue facing Puerto Rico than the cost of public pensions to taxpayers.
This telephone survey of Puerto Rico residents ages 45+ was fielded February 22 to 27, 2013. A total of 500 interviews were completed throughout the Island. The results are weighted to reflect the age and gender of the 45+ population in Puerto Rico. For more information, contact Angela Houghton at 202-434-2261.