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Educators Need Financial Security in Retirement

Financial security for retired educators is a top priority for the NRTA. Discover tools to ensure financial security in retirement for educators

spinner image Teacher with Flip Chart, Classroom Interaction, The NRTA Pension Education Toolkit
NRTA has released a comprehensive Pension Education Toolkit, developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Retirement Security.
LWA/Dann Tardif/Blend Images

Ensuring that education professionals have the financial resources they need to maintain their standard of living in retirement is a top priority for NRTA. Much of our government affairs and advocacy work focuses on making certain that educators can continue to rely upon defined benefit pensions and Social Security in retirement. This work is particularly important because in recent years educators’ retirement benefits have been the target of misinformation and threats.

Advocacy Toolkit

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NRTA has provided the state REAs with an important tool to help them win real improvements in the lives of their members and other retired school personnel. We know that legislative and advocacy issues remain a top priority for REA leaders who regularly engage on public policy issues at both the state and federal levels. So NRTA designed the Advocacy Toolkit to strengthen and support REA efforts on legislation and advocacy by providing best practice guidance and tips on a variety of effective campaign tactics, including:

  • Letters to the editor
  • Op-eds
  • Meetings with elected officials
  • Letters to elected officials
  • Fact sheets and other leave-behinds
  • Advocacy alerts
  • Direct mail pieces
  • Fundraising letters
  • News releases

Please contact NRTA at 202-434-2380 for more information.

Pension Education Toolkit and E-Briefings

NRTA developed the Pension Education Toolkit and E-Briefings to help inform the state Retired Educators Association (REA) leaders, members and other stakeholders — particularly legislators — on a full range of pension issues. Prepared with the National Institute on Retirement Security, the toolkit provides interested stakeholders with a better understanding of a host of complex public pension issues, and it is supplemented by e-briefings that explain each element of the toolkit. 

Pension Education Toolkit Fact Sheets

The Pension Education Toolkit fact sheets present clear and concise information and message points on a variety of public pension topics for retired educators and the public. These resource materials highlight the importance of advocating for the earned benefits provided by defined benefit pension plans and their future solvency in a time when states continue to feel financial and budgetary pressures due to the impact of the Great Recession.

  • Public Pension Fact Sheet
    This document is an executive summary emphasizing key characteristics and data pertaining to traditional defined benefit pensions for public employees.   
  • The Economy and Your Pension
    Group-based pension plans weathered the Great Recession better than individual account plans and provide better retirement security more efficiently than individual accounts.
  • Pension Funding Gaps
    Often called unfunded liabilities, pension funding gaps are manageable and can be filled over time with annual required contributions from employees and employers and investment returns.
  • Pension Contribution Requirements
    Unlike in private pensions, public employees contribute to their pension each and every paycheck.  Keeping the pension plan well funded is a shared responsibility between employees and employers. 
  • The Importance of Your Pension
    Traditional defined benefit pensions provide a guaranteed monthly income for life, which is important to the financial security of retired public employees like education professionals. 
  • The Importance of Your Pension (non-Social Security states)
    Traditional defined benefit pensions provide a guaranteed monthly income for life, which is especially important in states where public employees do not participate in Social Security. For these public employees, such as educators, the pension may be the only source of retirement income.
  • Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs)
    COLAs help to ensure that the purchasing power of a retiree’s earned benefit is maintained, no matter how quickly prices might rise due to inflation.
  • Pension Reforms
    Most states have made changes to their pension systems since 2008. Those that have studied the issue have maintained their defined benefit plans for their employees to meet the joint interests of fiscal responsibility for employers and taxpayers and retirement security for employees. 

  • Pension Trends
    According to the Center on Retirement Research at Boston College, the public pension reforms already implemented will, over time, fully fill the funding gaps caused by the financial crisis.

  • The Costs of Switching From a Pension to Individual Accounts
    Closing public pensions to new hires does nothing to address the current unfunded liabilities of the system. Rather, this change comes with increased costs to employers and taxpayers to run multiple retirement systems and to fund the existing pension plan.

  • State-by-State Facts and Figures
    This compilation provides guidance on where to find basic pension statistics for your state and much more. As you open this PDF, the title in gray is hyperlinked to the website of the report. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Glossary
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Pension Education Toolkit E-Briefings

To supplement the toolkit, we also recorded a series of e-briefings, a web-based service that allows viewers to watch and listen to a PowerPoint presentation anywhere, anytime and at no cost. The toolkit e-briefings are listed and linked below:

Retirement Infographics Toolkit

Retirement security is a critical topic for retired educators. But the subject can be very complex and laden with data. To help retired teachers educate their stakeholders — like policymakers and the news media — about financial security and pension issues, we have created a series of infographics. This toolkit offers visual representations of complex data to help make the information clear, concise and understandable. The NRTA Infographics Toolkit contains the following elements: 

  • Pensions Get Retirement Right
  • Comparing Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans
  • Why Pensions Are a Good Deal for Taxpayers, Employers and Employees
  • How Pensions Help the Economy
  • How Pension Funding Works
  • Retirement and Women
  • Retirement and Multicultural Americans

State Retirement Fact Sheets

In partnership with the National Institute on Retirement Security, NRTA and AARP developed a series of state-by-state fact sheets that provide in-depth information on public employee and teacher retirement systems across the country. These state-specific documents are valuable, easy-to-understand tools for educating state policymakers and the news media about the facts regarding public employee retirement plans.

More specifically, these fact sheets present an overview of how pensions work, background information about each state’s retirement systems, and state-specific data and key facts. 

We invite you to download your state fact sheet here.

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