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Dan's Blog

California Teacher Retiree Data 📊

June 22, 2021

Saving for retirement is a lot like that road trip where you can't wait to see what's over the horizon. On such trips it feels like the horizon is never ending. It's the same for saving for retirement. Excitement builds for answers to questions like: What age will I be able to afford to retire? How much will I receive from my pension? For these reasons, I always enjoy and learn from real world data on teacher retirement. CalSTRS, the California teacher pension agency, recently published it's annual Sustainability Report that provides financial details and demographics on retiring California teachers. It has some very useful information for teachers eyeing retirement. 

Key Findings

  • CalSTRS processed 11,706 service retirements and paid $15.9 billion in retirement, disability and survivor benefits and purchasing power supplemental payments.
  • Members retired with an average of 24.3 years of service credit and a monthly member-only benefit of $4,614.
  • The average member age at retirement was 63.3 years old.
  • The average life expectancy of CalSTRS members continued to exceed the longevity of CalPERS and Social Security members. The average female CalSTRS member was expected to live to 91 years old, while the average male was expected to live to age 88.
  • CalSTRS saw a 13% increase in the number of members over 100 years old, with 410 retirees over age 100 as of June 30, 2020.
  • CalSTRS’ oldest service retiree reached 108.7 years old!

Takeaways

With more than 11,000 teachers retiring from the state each year, this annual report can be highly instructive. As far as takeways go, keep in mind that California is a state where teachers don't pay into Social Security so a monthly pension payout of $4,614 a month is pretty modest. If you are a working teacher reading this, it's critical that you understand how much your pension will pay out. That way you will know if you need to save more in a 403(b) and/or a 457(b) and/or Roth IRA. 

Stay wise and well (and know your projected pension payout and if you can expect to receive Social Security).