Politics

Public vs. private retirements

Defenders of public employee pension systems often make the case that pension benefits are not all that generous. The outrageous cases you see on the news — Long Island police retiring in their 40s with pensions in excess of base pay, administrators “retiring” with six-figure pensions and then going back to work with another government agency, one ex-FDNY firefighter running marathons on his $86,000 “disability” pension — are the exceptions, they say.

The data, however, tells a different story. According to the Census Bureau, the average New York retiree receiving a corporate or union pension — a retiree from the private sector — was receiving an annual benefit of $13,100 in 2009. For state and local government retirees, that figure was more than twice as high: $27,600. And that average figure includes retirees who were part-time workers or only spent part of their careers in government; full-career retirees often do far better.

Watch: 60 Minutes Report on the state budget crisis

To understand what sort of public pension you might be eligible for, the Empire Center for New York State Policy has created a Pension Calculator, available at nypensionbomb.org. Simply enter your age at retirement, years worked and final average salary — typically, the average of your wage earnings in your last three years worked — and you can see what benefit you would be entitled to, if you were lucky enough to work for the government.

Full Story: Public vs. private retirements – NYPOST.com