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84% of Public Service Employees Increasingly Anxious About Their Financial Security Amid Turbulent Economy and Market Volatility

October 12, 2022

New MissionSquare Research Institute Survey Finds Retirement Savings Dropping as Inflation and Housing Costs Rise

Webinar on October 31 to Review Findings

New research from MissionSquare Research Institute finds the vast majority (84%) of public service employees say they are anxious about the impact of economic conditions and market volatility on their personal financial security. Additionally, these workers indicate that high inflation (48%) and rising housing costs (37%) are triggering lower retirement savings. 

These findings are based upon a national survey of 1003 state and local government workers conducted by Greenwald Research on behalf of MissionSquare Research Institute in September 2022. The survey polled respondents about financial and retirement security amid current economic conditions. 

Read a research infographic summarizing the survey results.

Register for a webinar on Monday, October 31, 2022, at 2:00 PM ET to review these findings and for a preview of upcoming MissionSquare Research Institute research on public sector financial wellness and the state of the workforce.

“We all should be worried when public service employees are anxious about their financial security,” said Lynne Ford, CEO and President of MissionSquare Retirement. “We depend on these employees to deliver essential public services, and worries about personal finances can impact their ability to do their job. It’s so important to ensure the public service workforce has resources, compensation, and benefits to manage their financial security. Saving for retirement is one of the biggest financial challenges facing employees, and we remain committed to helping those who serve their communities build retirement security,” Ford said.

“These findings highlight that public servants administering key services and programs across the country are not insulated from the broader economic environment impacting all Americans,” said Joshua Franzel, MissionSquare Research Institute Managing Director. “In many cases, public employers are reassessing and expanding their benefit offerings to enable their employees to be financially secure both in the short- and long-term. These efforts also can help address recruitment and retention challenges,” Franzel said.

This research finds: 

  • Respondents that feel very anxious about their financial security were significantly more likely to be female and have an annual household income less than $100,000.
  • Current economic conditions and market volatility make respondents feel worried about savings – whether they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement (81%); will have enough money to last throughout retirement (81%); can retire on time (72%); and have enough emergency savings (70%).
  • 42% of public service workers say their retirement benefits are better than those offered in the private sector.
  • Most workers say retirement benefits (58%) and other benefits (62%) like healthcare, insurance and time off make them more inclined to stay in their job.
  • The top three actions workers say their employers could take to bolster retirement readiness are higher wages/salary (86%), better retirement benefits (54%), and better healthcare benefits in retirement (48%).
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