CalPERS $100K club has more than doubled since 2012, new data show

Last year, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) issued 30,969 pension checks that were worth $100,000 or more on an annualized basis, according to newly released pension payout data from TransparentCalifornia.com.

CalPERS_100KclubThe new, 2018 data reveals that CalPERS is now paying out over $23 billion annually in pension benefits, 17 percent of which will go towards those receiving annualized pensions of $100,000 or more.

The growing number of $100K-plus pensions reflect an increase in newer retirees who benefited from the pension enhancements passed in 1999 and 2001. As documented by reporter Ed Mendel of Calpensions.com, CalPERS advocated for these enhancements by falsely claiming that they would not cost “a dime of additional taxpayer money.”

In reality, these enhancements are part of the reason why governments across the state are now struggling under the weight of soaring pension costs.

The average pension of state and local retirees who worked at least 30 years before retirement are shown in the chart below:

Average annualized pension for full-career CalPERS retirees (2018)

Agency Type Regular Safety (Police/Fire) Officers
State $63,057 $84,197
Local $74,599 $108,320

To explore the complete 2018 CalPERS dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, please click here.


The California State Teachers’ Retirement System has also seen an explosion in the number of those drawing pensions of at least $100,000 in recent years, as shown in the chart below:

CalSTRS100KclubThe average pension for full-career CalSTRS retirees hit an all-time high of $73,920 last year — an increase of over $10,000 from 2011.

To explore the complete 2018 CalSTRS dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, please click here.

Transparent California will be continually updating the site with new, 2018 data from the remaining pension funds in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts, sign up for our mailing list, or subscribe to our blog in order to receive the latest updates.

For more information, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.

Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. The website is used by millions of Californians each year, including elected officials and lawmakers, government employees and their unions, government agencies themselves, university researchers, the media, and concerned citizens alike. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

Categories: 2019, Press Releases