Retirement Saving Study In USA

Too many Americans live from month to month. Saving is a habit that seems to have passed many Americans by. Ideally it is something that they should have all started in their 20s and continued throughout their lives. Only a minority have done so. The principle that many seem to live by is that tomorrow will look after itself. The pressure of meeting current bills seems too great to leave anything over to put away towards the future.

The pressure comes from people being happy to live on credit. Credit has been readily available for many years, particularly the years before recession when credit card companies aggressively marketed their services. They paid little regard to the credit worthiness of applicants and that was bound to lead to problems in the future. The recession ensured that it did though now the recession has receded there seems little sign that anything much has changed.

The other factors that have inhibited saving include relatively low wages that have hardly grown in recent years. Many of course lost their jobs during the recession which put them eve further back in efforts to plan for the future.

A Recent Study

GoBankingRates undertook a study to see what the true position is. The results are fairly depressing. Respondents were asked to broadly identify how much they have put away towards retirement and of course the results allow readers to compare themselves with others.

The survey was conducted in different age groups because time is an extremely important factor when assessing an individual's personal position and a recommended course of action.

Each respondent were given the following figures and asked what category they were in themselves:

  • Under $10K
  • $10K to $49K
  • $50K to $99K
  • $100K to $199K
  • $200 to $299K
  • $300K or more
  • No retirement savings

The first thing to say is that 56% put themselves in the first category, less than $10,000 or the last, nothing at all. Even more worrying was that the results were similar across all age groups and in the case of the older respondents that means they will be entirely reliant on the Social Security System which was intended to be merely a support for people rather than their sole income. That is still the intention and in fact the funds are dwindling to the extent that benefits will fall by as much as 25% by 2030 without an injection of significant extra funds.

33% of Americans admit to having nothing saved and a further 23% have less than $10,000 set aside. A further 18% have less than $100,000.

Compound interest is a definite ally to those who began saving even a small amount every month from an early age. The 13% who have a retirement fund in excess of $300,000 may well be used as evidence of that.


When the figures are broken down further it seems that women are less likely to have savings than men. The figure of 56% with $10,000 or less rises to 65% among women and drops to 52% of men. The gap gets higher going through the various money bands. It is a reflection of the disparity of wages and the fewer number of years that women may have worked full time. With greater life expectancy a woman's needs may actually be greater than a man's; medical bills for more years of retirement is an obvious reason.


The study was sub-divided in 3 age categories:

  • 18 – 34
  • 35 – 54
  • 55 and over

The youngest category was far less likely to have retirement savings than either of the others; 72% had less than $10,000, with a higher proportion still under 25. Those in the middle category were at least trying with 50% having more than $10,000 and a further 25% more than $100,000. Inevitably the oldest category was the one that had the vast majority of the $300,000 savers.

The young ones are missing a trick because even small monthly savings can grow impressively given time.


Clearly the recession has not helped. 401ks performed poorly during those years so growth has stalled among many, especially those in the top two bands that realize that retirement is getting closer. That said there is still 30% of over 55s with nothing and a further 26% with less than $50,000.

Some may have company pension plans that used to be fairly common in the 70s and early 80s but which have virtually disappeared now.

The Real Problem Areas

Youngsters still have time but they should not be complacent. They should start with some savings. They need to forget tempting credit and only use credit cards for things they can afford to pay for in full at the end of the month. High interest debt is damaging and paying off such balances with a cheaper personal loan should be another immediate action to take and our most demanding website would help you.

It is the people in the second age group that need to reduce their debts and begin to save a percentage of their monthly pay check, certainly 10% and rising to 15% as soon as they can. Too many are behind where they should be for their age. Today is the day to stop dithering and catch up with where they need to be. It is about self-discipline and establishing a routine, following strategy with obvious long term benefits and recognizing that time is not on their side.

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