Are You Saving Enough for Retirement?

by Michael on Mar 27, 2013 · 3 comments

Photo of Retired Couple Worrying About Bills

Despite the strong stock market recovery and the gradually improving employment picture, an increasing number of Americans are concerned about their retirement savings.

Or at least that’s the message from the most recent survey of retirement confidence by the Employment Benefit Research Institute.

Indeed, the percentage of workers who reported being “not at all confident” that they’re saving enough for retirement has nearly tripled from 10% in 2007 to 28% in 2013. And the trend isn’t exactly reversing itself.

Breaking it down further, 13% are “very confident,” 38% are “somewhat confident,” and 21% are “not too confident” that they’ll have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. You can see a breakdown over time below (click to enlarge).

Worker Confidence in Retirement Savings

I guess the good news in all of this is that around half of those surveyed have at least some level of confidence that they’ll have enough money in retirement.

But the bad news is exactly the sameā€¦ Only around half of all individuals survey are at least somewhat confident that they’ll have enough money in retirement.

At the same time, just 2% of workers identified saving for retirement as the most pressing financial issue facing Americans today. This placed it well behind things like job security, government spending and the budget deficit, healthcare, taxes, and mortgage payments.

As for how much people have saved, 76% of workers have less than $100,000 in total savings and investments. While you may those numbers could reasonably be skewed by young workers, consider that 73% of all retirees are currently in the same boat.

Believe it or not, just 50% of all workers surveyed (and 52% of retirees) say they could definitely come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose in the next month. What about you? Could you come with $2k on short notice?

As for why people aren’t saving more, 55% of all workers surveyed reported that they’re having problems with their debt. Coupled with this is a tendency to raid retirement savings to pay off debt.

In fact, of those with who left an employer with a defined contribution plan, 28% reported taking the money and using it to pay off debt.

All in all, this report paints a rather bleak picture. I’ve linked it below in case you want to check it out for yourself. It’s pretty interesting.

Where about you? Are you saving enough for retirement? If not, what do you plan to do about it? And what are you waiting for? The time to act it now.


1 Adam March 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Ever since I started working, I’ve been contributing significantly to my retirement plan, and my employer has a very generous matching policy. I didn’t start out maxing out all possible contributions, but I slowly ramped it up over the years and am now maxing out everything. Now, after 5 years of full-time employment, I have about $175,000 in my various tax-deferred accounts (401a, 403b, Roth IRA, HSA). With the current contribution limits, I’m putting in around $38,000 per year (employer+employee contributions). I’m saving even more for taxable investing. No debt.

I certainly couldn’t afford to retire today — I’m 28, so the money would have to last a while — but I think I’m on a good track.

2 Michael March 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Adam: Sounds like you’re in great shape. Keep it up!

3 clubgitmo March 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Absolutely stunning that so many people can not even come up with 2K in an emergency. What does that say about the money management of people in this country?

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