TVA employees DO contribute to their retirement with their 401(k) and social security contributions and perhaps an optional after-tax annuity similar to a 401(k). The pension is designed to replace 30 to 40 percent of their salaries after a long career (30 plus years) with TVA. 401(k) and social security and drawing from 401(k) or annuity provides the rest. If you are lucky enough to work a long career, and have a decent job, you'll do all right, just like anywhere else. The biggest hurdle for TVA retirees is having enough coming in to pay their medical insurance, if they retire before age 65. If they retire now before age 55, 80 percent family medical insurance is over $1200 per month.