Actuaries are math professionals who measure and manage financial risk. They are employed by insurance companies, banks, or investment firms. In state government, agencies administering pension, health care, unemployment, or worker's compensation benefits rely on actuarial calculations in one way or another.

Pension actuaries estimate the financial implications and consequences of events twenty, thirty, or more years into the future.  They are concerned with demographic trends and statistics within the pension plans’ membership.  They analyze the economic factors that may affect the value of a pension plan’s benefits or assets.  This work relies on mathematical principles and assumptions, statistics, probabilities, and experience.

The California Research Bureau provides a plain language primer that summarizes and explains the actuarial methods and practices.  You may access the report directly from the CRB website. Or you may  download the report in PDF format .

More information about the actuarial profession in general is available at  The Society of Actuaries website.


Last Reviewed: 6/15/2017

Last Updated: 6/15/2017