Majority of Higher Education Employees Feel Confident About Retirement Finances

TIAA Institute and CUPA-HR study reveals paying for medical and potential long-term care expenses during retirement is top concern

New York, October 16, 2019 – Seventy-five percent of full-time higher education employees are confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement, according to a study released today by the TIAA Institute and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).
Nonetheless, several issues stand out as retirement concerns among higher education employees: managing savings for income during retirement and covering out-of-pocket medical expenses during retirement, as well as potential long-term care expenses. One-third are not confident they will be able to afford medical expenses, and more than one-half feel they could afford long-term care if needed. Many employees are interested in receiving advice on how to navigate these three challenges.
Retirement readiness is just one component of employees’ overall financial picture, however. Debt is a particular challenge to higher education employees as one-third report that their level of debt and debt payments prevent them from adequately addressing other financial priorities.
“As employers continue to recognize the importance of holistic approaches to providing for the financial well-being of their employees, studies like this become more and more critical,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, Head of the TIAA Institute. “This report provides valuable insight to guide higher education institutions with their retirement readiness and debt management resources for employees.”
“Financial well-being often has an impact on other areas of well-being, including emotional and even physical health. The more higher education leaders understand about the issues that affect their employees, the more proactive institutions can be in providing resources to support them,” said Andy Brantley, President and CEO of CUPA-HR. “The results of this important survey are an excellent starting point.”
The “Financial Well-Being and Retirement Readiness in the Higher Education Workforce” study used findings from the “2019 Higher Education Financial Wellness Survey” of more than 1,000 full-time faculty, staff, and administrators to examine financial practices and well-being among the higher education workforce.
To view the full report, please click here


CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Serving over 31,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 2,000 member institutions and organizations, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and workforce data, extensive online resources, and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

About the TIAA Institute

The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit

About TIAA

With an award-winning1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 6/30/20192) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.

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1 The Lipper Mixed-Assets Large Fund Award is given to the group with the lowest average decile ranking of three years’ Consistent Return for eligible funds over the three-year period ended 11/30/15 (against 39 fund families), 11/30/16 (36), 11/30/17 (35) and 11/30/18 (35). Note this award pertains to mixed-assets mutual funds within the TIAA-CREF group of mutual funds; other funds distributed by Nuveen Securities were not included. From Thomson Reuters Lipper Awards, © 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited. Certain funds have fee waivers in effect. Without such waivers ratings could be lower. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For current performance, rankings and prospectuses, please visit the Research and Performance section on The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.
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