Confident by Comparison
Findings from “Retirement Confidence on Campus: The 2010 Higher Education Retirement Confidence Survey,” by TIAA-CREF Institute principal research fellow Paul J. Yakoboski, reveal that higher education employees are generally more confident than the overall U.S. workforce about their prospects for a financially secure retirement.
According to the report, based on a survey developed upon the framework of the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey, 26 percent of higher education employees are very confident, 54 percent are somewhat confident, and 17 percent are not confident about their retirement income prospects compared to 16 percent, 38 percent, and 46 percent, respectively, of all U.S. workers.
The report acknowledges the unique dynamics of employment within higher education (including the absence of mandatory retirement for many faculty) that may influence differences between higher education employees and the general workforce when it comes to attitudes and investment behaviors. Yet, it also notes that, as an industry, higher education has been impacted by the same recent economic woes as the larger U.S. economy that have resulted in similar organizational cost-cutting measures and staffing reductions experienced within other sectors.
Among other comparisons of interest in this report:
- College and university employees appear more engaged in planning and saving for retirement compared to U.S. workers in general, with 95 percent of higher education employees saying they have saved for their retirement versus 60 percent of all U.S. workers. Similarly, 61 percent of college and university workers have attempted to estimate how much they must save for retirement compared to 46 percent of the overall U.S. workforce.
- Whereas only one third of all U.S. workers have sought investment advice from a financial advisor during the past year, one half of higher education employees have done so.
- Higher education employees are more likely than U.S. workers (25 percent versus 11 percent) to think they will annuitize assets in retirement.