ANOTHER MYTH: Police Officers & Fire Fighters retire at age 50 with 90% of their pay

There is a great deal of misinformation being spread about the pay and benefits of fire fighters and police officers.  One of them is that these public safety professionals can retire at the age of 50 and still make 90% of their salaries in retirement.  This is blatantly false.  Here’s the facts from the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS):


(CalPERS) records indicate that over the last seven years, safety workers who retired at age 50 with 30 years of service represented 1 percent of all those retired. The reason very few ever would receive this level pension is that they would have had to start working age 20 to earn 30 years. Most start their safety careers at age 27, 28, or 29. 

Myth vs. Facts on Public Safety Pensions

Some in the City of San Bernardino are falsely claiming that the pensions of San Bernardino’s Fire Fighters and Police Officers are major reason for the City’s decision to declare bankruptcy.  That is untrue.  Here’s the facts from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

Myth: Public pension benefits are excessive and a drain on the public.


The average CalPERS pension is about $25,000 per year. Half of CalPERS retirees receive $18,000 per year or less in benefits.