Here’s How Much Workers Think They Must Save To Retire

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Happy retirees
Robert Kneschke /

American workers say they need $1.8 million to retire. But many are at risk of falling short of that lofty goal.

A Charles Schwab survey of 1,000 nationwide 401(k) plan participants ranging in age from 21 to 70 asked how much money they would need saved to retire.

The $1.8 million figure they cited on average was up a touch from the $1.7 million cited in last year’s study.

Despite having their sights set on $1.8 million, relatively few respondents expect to actually reach that goal. Just 37% think they are “very likely” to achieve their aim, down sharply from the 47% who had such expectations last year.

No doubt, 2022’s grinding and dispiriting bear market played a role in that loss of confidence. However, respondents said inflation is the No. 1 retirement obstacle they face, with 62% citing it as a problem.

Stock market volatility finished at No. 2, with 42% citing it as an obstacle.

Current chaos in the economy is having a widespread — and negative — impact on savers’ wallets, with 78% of respondents saying they feel the brunt of inflation, market volatility and economic conditions. The turmoil is causing respondents to:

  • Reduce the number of purchases they make (37%)
  • Save less in general (32%)
  • Buy cheaper products (31%)
  • Spend more in general (26%)

Despite their worries about inflation and fears that they won’t hit their retirement goals, survey respondents believe their 401(k) will be the primary source of cash they turn to in retirement, accounting for 40% of their income. Social Security, on the other hand, is expected to account for only 20% of the money financing their golden years.

In reality, the Social Security Administration estimates that about half of people 65 and older receive nearly a third of their income from Social Security, and more than 1 in 10 count on the program for at least 90% of their income.

For more on the state of Americans’ finances, check out “Here’s How Much Americans Lost in Retirement Savings Last Year.”

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