Study: Education Sector Employees Confident About Retirement But More Planning May Be Needed

April 2013

 

Report examines attitudes among African-American and white employees in the education sector regarding retirement confidence and preparedness     

New York, April 29, 2013  - A report released today by the TIAA-CREF Institute and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies reveals that both African-American and white employees in the education sector feel confident about retirement, but that more planning may be needed.

The report, “Retirement Confidence in the Education Sector: Comparisons by Race,” analyzed data for more than 2,000 employees in the education sector --administrators, staff and teachers or faculty at both the K-12 level and the post-secondary level -- on their attitudes, behaviors and preferences toward retirement. The study also analyzed how these attributes vary by race.

According to the report, a significant majority of both African-American and white education-sector employees voice high levels of confidence regarding retirement planning:

  • Approximately 90 percent of each group is currently saving for retirement.
  • Nearly 80 percent of each group is confident they are investing their savings appropriately.
  • About 70 percent of each group is confident they will have enough money to live comfortably during retirement.

Moreover, a majority of each group feels confident they will not outlive their savings. That said, approximately half have determined how much they actually need to save to achieve this goal.

“It is encouraging to see that retirement confidence levels are fairly high among education-sector employees,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of the TIAA-CREF Institute. “However, it is critical that this confidence is translated into retirement readiness, which can best be achieved by investing in financial education and awareness programs, as well as increasing access to financial advice.”

According to the report, approximately 40 percent of education-sector employees admitted they have not sought retirement planning advice within the past three years.

“These findings underscore the need for financial advice customized to each employee’s unique needs,” said Paul Yakoboski, senior economist at the TIAA-CREF Institute. “Yet seeking financial advice is not alone sufficient for achieving retirement goals. Unless individuals make a commitment to follow and implement the advice received, retirement readiness is likely to remain an elusive goal.”

According to the report, among the education-sector employees who received retirement planning advice in the past three years, white employees were more likely than African-American employees to follow most of the advice received.

"The study confirms that the key challenges in retirement planning among education employees are essentially the same across African-American and white populations,” said Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "Too many are uncertain of how much money they need to save for a comfortable retirement, and too many feel that they are not saving enough. These are challenges we must address so that more workers can achieve a financially secure retirement."

“Although white employees were more likely than African-American employees to follow most of the planning advice received, improving retirement savings outcomes will require a greater understanding of how the process of giving and receiving financial advice works for each individual,” said Wilhelmina Leigh, senior research associate at the Joint Center and author of the report.

A summary of the full survey results can be downloaded from the TIAA-CREF website and from the website of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

About the Report

The report “Retirement Confidence in the Education Sector: Comparisons by Race” is based on the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by Mathew Greenwald & Associates (MGA) by phone during February and March 2011 on behalf of the TIAA-CREF Institute. The original survey polled 2,002 individuals, 1,001 employed in the K-12 sector and 1,001 in the higher education (college and university) sector. The “Retirement Confidence in the Education Sector: Comparisons by Race” report is an analysis of responses provided by the 200 African-American and the 1,600 white employees surveyed.

About the TIAA-CREF Institute

The TIAA-CREF Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The Institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those we serve to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success.

About TIAA-CREF

TIAA-CREF (www.tiaa-cref.org) is a national financial services organization with $520 billion in assets under management (as of 3/31/2013) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., members FINRA, distribute securities products.

About the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies conducts research and policy analysis on topics of concern to African-Americans and other people of color. Initially founded to encourage African-American political participation and to support newly elected black public officials in the wake of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Joint Center continues to promote civic and political engagement – and to support black leadership – as the primary route to greater equality and opportunity. www.jointcenter.org.

Press Contact:
Ken Luck
(888) 200-4062
media@tiaa-cref.org

Alicia Durfee
(202) 789-3507
adurfee@jointcenter.org

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© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017