Foundations & Nonprofits

December 2012

In the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, many individuals are worried about their short-term and long-run  financial security. In the nonprofit and philanthropic sector (hereafter referred to as “the sector”), there is speculation that such concerns among its workers are undermining the sector’s ability to attract and retain the new talent required to be successful, while simultaneously preventing senior leaders and older employees from retiring.

November 2011

Hospital workers are more likely than U.S. workers to be saving for retirement; 88% versus 59%, respectively. But only 48% of savers in the hospital sector have calculated how much they need to accumulate and only 22% are very confident that they are investing their retirement savings appropriately. Debt clearly hinders retirement preparations—89% of hospital workers with a major debt problem consider themselves behind in their planning and saving for retirement compared with 37% of those without a debt problem.

October 2011

Compared with U.S. workers in general, employees in the primary and secondary education sector tend to be more confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement. Greater confidence among K-12 employees results, at least in part, from higher participation rates in retirement plans at work. Individuals in the K-12 workforce are also more likely to be retirement savers. Nonetheless, 56% of all K-12 employees consider themselves behind schedule in planning and saving for retirement.

June 2011

This paper summarizes a survey of university endowment funds, with a particular focus on the composition of endowment investment committees and how this composition is associated with a number of key activities. In general, we find that the typical investment committee member has financial credentials of some form and has experience as an executive or serving on other boards. We also find that most investment committee members are themselves donors to the university.

January 2011

Several myths about health insurance pervaded the health reform debate and interfered with plans for implementation. Many are built on a kernel of truth, but the simplification of complicated issues can lead to conclusions that are misleading, or just wrong. In this article, we draw on economic principles and empirical research to examine the arguments that underlie these misconceptions and the fundamental challenges these issues pose for the successful implementation of health reform.

January 2011

Retirement benefits represent a large and growing share of educator compensation. An important question is whether the current retirement benefit systems are an efficient or equitable way to structure educator compensation. An examination of the incentives built into typical state defined benefit plans suggests otherwise. Benefits are highly back-loaded, producing large peaks in pension wealth accrual followed by valleys of negative accrual.

December 2010

The retirement security landscape has changed drastically for most workers over the last thirty years – except for public school teachers and other state and local government employees. Many private-sector employers have stopped offering traditional retirement plans, while most state and local employees remain covered by defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Research shows that DB plans have had strong effects on worker retention in the private sector, as workers delayed retirement until they cash in on large pension wealth accruals late in their careers and then retire abruptly.

October 2010

This paper examines how controlling vendor access to public K-12 supplemental 403(b) plans improves teacher retirement outcomes by controlling the number of providers, products, investment options, and the level of fees that teachers pay on their retirement saving accounts. We sort retirement plan systems into two administrative levels (state or local school district) and two degrees of management and oversight (open access or controlled access). Open access management typically allows “any willing provider” access to plan participants.

September 2010

K-12 employees are more confident than all U.S. workers that they will have a financially comfortable retirement. Greater confidence results, at least in part, from higher participation rates in retirement plans at work; almost 90% of K-12 employees participate in a plan. The defined benefit pension is the dominant form of primary retirement plan sponsored in the K-12 sector; in addition, the availability of supplemental 403(b) plans has become near-universal.