Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Lori Salgado


In Puerto Rico, the Teachers’ Retirement System, which has a membership of around 36,000 retired public-school teachers, is currently facing major restructuring and budget cuts, as part of a larger restructuring of all government agencies to meet the economic emergency they were facing. The recent retirement system reforms were focused mainly on cutting benefits, such as medications, Christmas and summer bonuses, and the cost-of-living adjustment. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of retired teachers regarding their financial sufficiency, and to identify their attitudes, beliefs, and opinions/feelings in light of their socioeconomic profile. The research question focused on understanding the perceptions of retired teachers in Puerto Rico regarding their financial sufficiency. The conceptual framework for this study used Merton’s unintended consequences theory to explore teacher retirees’ perceptions, and evidence-based policy making to provide high-quality information to inform decisions that are made about government policies. A qualitative study design used semistructured interviews of 12 participants who were teacher retirees. Data from the interviews were coded and categorized for thematic analysis. Results indicated that the teacher retirement pension was considered insufficient to cover basic expenses and avoid future government dependence. The implications for positive social change include providing information for scholars and policymakers on today’s retirement realities regarding teacher retirees’ financial sufficiency, to assist in the development of new policies that could improve the quality of life of the present teachers and the teacher retirees in Puerto Rico.