Top education retirees paid handsomely

Budget & Tax , Education

Curtis Shelton | February 4, 2021

Top education retirees paid handsomely

Curtis Shelton

Discussion surrounding public education nearly always revolves around funding—more specifically, salaries for those working in public education. While there has been no shortage of research papers and news stories about teacher salaries, these often ignore a large portion of educators’ compensation: retirement benefits. This compensation has the potential to be very generous, especially when compared to that of employees in the private sector.

OCPA’s data tool shows the potential benefit for every retiree in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma (TRS). Using that data, we can see just how much money some of the top OTRS beneficiaries receive. (To be sure, the rank-and-file Oklahoma teacher will never see this much in retirement.)

The table above shows the average contribution for the top five retirees and the total potential benefit over their expected retirement term, as well as the average annual benefits they receive. Pay a visit to OCPA’s data tool to see more.

Compare these benefits to the average private-sector retirement account. Vanguard’s annual How America Saves report gives a snapshot of what the country’s retirement savings look like. The chart shows the average and median retirement account balances for various age ranges.

According to the report, retirees in a similar age bracket (65+) have an average account balance of $216,720 and a median balance of $64,548.

The median potential benefit for all retirees in TRS was $278,962 in 2016.

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.

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