- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada’s state and local government employees are postponing their leisurely days of golf and travel much more than they were a decade ago, according to officials with the state retirement fund.

The average retirement age for regular public-sector workers in 2013 was 65, according to Segal Consulting, the actuary for the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System. That’s up from 59 in 2004, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (https://bit.ly/1rw9dzF).

Firefighters and police officers are also leaving their jobs later. The average retirement age in 2013 was 59, compared with 54 in 2004.

Much of the trend is attributed to workers waiting to retire until Medicare kicks in at age 65, said Tina Leiss, executive officer of the Nevada retirement system.

Another factor is workers putting in more time to reap a higher benefit. Pensions for most public workers are worth 2.5 percent to 2.67 percent per year of service, meaning more years in the workforce will bring a more lucrative pension check.

“I get the feeling people want to hold onto their jobs longer,” Leiss said.

The trend has both pros and cons for the $33.5 billion public pension plan. Workers who stay on the payroll longer contribute more to the fund and don’t draw on the pension until a later date.

“Generally, if employees retire at a later age, it is going to be better for the fund,” she said.

But the drawback is that employees retiring later tend to have a higher ending salary and a larger pension check upon retirement.

According to Segal’s data, the average monthly salary at retirement for regular employees in 2004 was $4,456, versus $5,024 in 2013.

Most of Nevada’s regular public employees are allowed to retire at 60 if they have at least 10 years of service, or at 65 if they have at least 5 years under their belts.

Police officers and firefighters can retire at age 50 with 20 years of service, or at 55 with 10 years.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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