Male teacher working with students in classroom. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Public school employees want more information about retirementplanning from their employers, with barely half consideringthemselves knowledgeable about their retirement investmentoptions.

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That finding came from a survey of 400 public school employees conducted by the Centerfor State and Local Government Excellence and Greenwald &Associates. The survey asked the employees their views on theirbenefits, how they believe their benefits compare to colleagues,and their familiarity with mutual funds and annuities.

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"When asked about their perceptions regarding retirement andemployee benefits, just over half of respondents (51%) agreed thatpeople who retire from jobs in K-12 education are generally able tolive comfortably in retirement," according to the report. "Slightlyfewer agreed that they are knowledgeable about the retirementinvestment options offered by their employer (48%), and 37% believethat their employer does a good job of preparing them forretirement. However, 44% of respondents also agreed that it isdifficult for them to negotiate or raise concerns about theiremployee benefits, and 40% agreed that they are overwhelmed by theretirement plan options offered to them."

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The survey found that an overwhelming majority, or 73% of thosesurveyed, are interested in getting more information from theiremployer about their retirement plan or retirement planning. Manyof the employees indicated they are specifically interested inlearning about tax rules governing their retirement plan, andunderstanding the costs and fees associated with their plan.

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Nearly 40% of the employees said they are turning to a friend orfamily member who isn't a financial professional for information,according to the study. Nearly 34% rely on a financial professionalassociated with their employer, and 32% are going directly to theiremployer.

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The survey results found people in the K-12 public workforce arepassionate about their jobs and workplace satisfaction, but theoverall findings comes with a warning during the COVID-19pandemic.

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"[I]f significant cuts were made to their salary, (definedbenefit) retirement plan, or health insurance, many would leave,which could impact schools' abilities to compete with the privatesector to recruit and retain a talented workforce," according tothe report.

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The report found nearly a third said they would definitelyleave, and nearly another third said they would probably leave iftheir salary were cut. Nearly half specifically said they wouldleave if their defined benefit retirement plan or health insurancewere cut.

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson is the U.S. Supreme Court and regulatory editor. Contact him at [email protected]. On Twitter: @Nate_Robson1.