Some people believe that taxpayers fund the total cost of public pensions. This is untrue.

The largest contribution comes from CalPERS investment dollars, with additional funding from employee and employer contributions. Workers currently contribute up to 15.25 percent of their paychecks to help fund their own pensions.

The CalPERS Pension Buck illustrates the sources of income that fund public employee pensions. Based on data over the past 20 years ending June 30, 2017, for every dollar CalPERS pays in pensions, 61 cents comes from investment earnings, 26 cents from employer contributions, and 13 cents from employee contributions. In other words, 74 cents out of every public employee pension dollar is funded by CalPERS’ own investment earnings and member contributions.

CalPERS also invests in California. Of our roughly $302 billion portfolio in June 2016, we invested $27.3 billion in California-based companies and projects, generating a ripple effect of economic activity across the state. CalPERS’ investments in California support jobs, economic activity, infrastructure, and business expansion*.

*CalPERS for California 2016 (PDF)

Image of the CalPERS Pension Buck (front side)

Image of the CalPERS Pension Buck (back side)

Source: CalPERS