A study by Bankrate.com has caused quite a stir among the general public, and possibly some headaches among those in the public sector.
As the Deseret News recently reported, Bankrate reported that the average congressman retires more comfortably than most Americans. In fact, many Americans aren't ready for retirement at all. A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute conducted this year showed that only 66 percent of all Americans have begun saving for retirement. That leaves 34 percent of American workers without any retirement savings.
Among those who are saving, retirement plans provided by their employers are often the largest helps to their future financial security.
In light of Bankrate's assessment of elected representatives, the Deseret News has compiled a list of some of the best jobs, both public and private, when it comes to retirement security.
Bolstered primarily by strong unions, utilities workers such as plumbers and electricians enjoy some of the best pension plans in the country as a whole. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 80 percent of utilities workers participate in defined benefit pension plans. Not only does the field offer competitive retirement funds, but the utilities industry is also in need of some new blood. As of 2010, roughly one in five utilities workers were at the age of retirement.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 23 percent of workers in the construction industry are covered by a defined benefit plan. To put that in perspective, only 6 percent of those in the hospitality industry are covered. Full-time construction workers often receive $1.80 per hour toward retirement. Much like the utilities industry, construction workers owe a large part of their impressive retirement plans to strong unions.
Those who work in the field of management and insurance professionals receive benefits comparable to those in utilities. Insurance professionals are often singled out for great benefits because their line of work provides an opportunity to test their products. They often take in $1.93 per hour for employee retirement benefits.
Though the average employer contribution is nothing to get too excited about (the average comes to 84 cents per hour worked) it’s the strength of the industry and its growth rate that has attracted so much attention. In fact, close to half of the businesses listed on AARP’s best employers for workers over 50 are health care companies.
Within the broader spectrum of health care jobs, nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses are expected to increase by 26 percent by 2020, which is 12 percent higher than the average growth rate.
Law enforcement is the most common profession receiving $100,000-plus pensions. Not bad work, if you can get it. In fact, many who work in the public sector benefit from state pension programs that can pay up to 90 percent of your salary at retirement.
Like those in law enforcement, firefighters benefit from some of the most generous state pension programs, sometimes even reaching 90 percent of their total salary at retirement.
Universities are well-known for above average matching programs for retirement accounts, but they also often offer educational preparations for retirement. As US News reports, all together the education industry averages $1.72 per hour worked to employee retirement benefits.
This career path often includes jobs in warehouses, agriculture and mining. According to US News, the wholesale trade industry had an above-average decrease in self-contributions to employee retirement accounts from 2007 to 2009. Currently, the average retirement contribution averages 98 cents per hour to workers.
Jobs such as textile, chemical and computer manufacturing stand out because of their average retirement benefit contribution of $1.30 per hour worked. While individual industries vary, manufacturing has garnered a reputation because of its general consistency as one of the top select private industries for defined benefit pension plans.
More specific than some of the other industries on this list, those in the aircraft manufacturing business enjoy average retirement contributions of $2.87 per hour worked.
Architects and researchers average $1.51 per hour in employer contribution to worker retirement benefits. Among the other fields often included in this category are accounting and advertising jobs.
According to US News, the stable career opportunities are the main draw for these industries. According to its research, the U.S. Postal Service likely employs more than 500,000 career employees. At an average of $1.77 per hour for retirement contributions, workers in transportation and warehousing typically enjoy an above-average retirement plan.
With the typical contribution to worker retirement benefits at $2.76 per hour worked, those in information industries often enjoy the benefits of large corporate retirement plans. Major tech industries such as Apple and Microsoft have the money, and the stability, to offer such high benefits.