Nearly 1 in 3 US Adults Have No Retirement Savings

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013

Many Americans are not prepared for retirement. While that may be no surprise to you, this might: One in 5 people who are nearing retirement age have no money saved.

That alarming statistic was highlighted in a recent report by the Federal Reserve Board on the economic well-being of U.S. households. According to a report press release:

Thirty-one percent of non-retired respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including 19 percent of those ages 55 to 64. Additionally, almost half of adults were not actively thinking about financial planning for retirement, with 24 percent saying they had given only a little thought to financial planning for their retirement and another 25 percent saying they had done no planning at all.

So why do so many Americans lack a retirement savings account? The survey found that many young people haven’t started saving for retirement yet. But it goes beyond that, the report said.

Part of the story also seems to be one of financial fragility for some households, who lack retirement savings and also have little financial cushion at all. Over half (54 percent) of those with incomes under $25,000 reported having no retirement savings or pension, compared with 10 percent of those earning $100,000 or more. Of those who reported that they had no retirement savings or pension, 67 percent also reported that they did not regularly set aside part of their income in some type of savings account, compared to 47 percent of the overall population.

The report also includes these retirement statistics:

  • Of those Americans close to retirement age (55 to 64), just 18 percent said they planned to work full time until a set retirement date, then not work again. About a quarter said they would work as long as possible. Another 18 percent said they anticipated retiring, then taking on a part-time job. And 9 percent said they’d retire and then work for themselves.
  • About two-fifths of Americans ages 45 and older who had not yet retired said the Great Recession pushed back their planned retirement date.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 retired people included Social Security benefits as one source of retirement funds. Another 44 percent cited defined benefit pension payments as retirement income. And 32 percent said they use savings outside a retirement account.

The Fed surveyed more than 4,000 working and retirement-age Americans.

Are you surprised that 31 percent of Americans have saved zilch for retirement? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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