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VOL. 128 | NO. 221 | Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pearl and Mel Shaw

Are You Ready to Retire?

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With an estimated 10 percent of the workforce employed in the nonprofit sector, retirement benefits can be a factor that impacts individual employees as well as the nonprofits they work for.

For example, do older employees delay retirement because they don’t have enough money to fund their retirement? Does this impact the ability of a nonprofit to promote talent from within, or to attract new talent from outside the organization? Do younger and mid-career employees evaluate employment opportunities based on retirement benefits?

Earlier this year the TIAA-CREF Institute and Independent Sector issued a report on a joint study they conducted on retirement and the nonprofit sector, a topic of interest to both. The TIAA-CREF Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness, and Independent Sector is a nonprofit, nonpartisan network of approximately 600 nonprofits, foundations and corporate philanthropy programs.

Key findings of the study included the following: 45 percent of nonprofit employees are not confident about their ability to retire from their employment; almost one-half of nonprofit employees are not satisfied with their ability to prepare financially for retirement; and more than 40 percent do not feel that they are accumulating sufficient financial resources to ensure their long-term financial security.

Over three-quarters reported access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or plans; almost one-third have access to a defined benefit pension plan, and more than two-thirds to a defined contribution plan, such as a 403(b) plan. While 76 percent are currently saving for retirement, less than 20 percent of these savers are extremely or very confident that they are saving the right amount.

What is hidden within these numbers is the difference – if there is one – between those who work for large nonprofits such as hospitals, colleges and universities, and those who work for small to mid-size nonprofits. Could it be that these employees may find that they won’t have enough to fund their retirement, and may have to depend on nonprofits for assistance?

Related to this, here are a few more findings: One-third of sector employees have received retirement planning advice within the past three years; two-thirds have not tried to determine how much money they will need to accumulate so that they can live comfortably in retirement; and among savers who are confident that they are saving the right amount, one-third have not attempted such a calculation.

These issues are by no means the sole concern of nonprofits. But, they may be something for us to discuss locally. The Assisi Foundation has created a survey to get a better understanding of how many nonprofits in our community offer retirement benefits, particularly small to mid-size nonprofits. You can participate in this confidential survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5SP89QJ. Take a moment to complete and be part of this community conversation.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success.” They position nonprofits for fundraising success.

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