A third of working adults expect to delay their retirement for financial reasons, according to Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Co. Inc., Boston.

Simply put, they have failed to save enough.

“Too many people are delaying their retirement dreams for lack of planning and adequate savings,” says Jeffrey R. Carney, president, Fidelity Personal Investments.

Among those who expect to push back retirement, 55% said the reason was they had not saved as much as they had expected. Another 35% said they had started saving too late in life, and 27% said poor investments or market downturns had caused a shortfall in funds they needed for retirement.

Among men, 30% said they are delaying retirement due to unfavorable investment decisions or market fluctuations, compared to 22% of women.

The need to keep their employer’s health care plan was the main reason for the delay for 34%. Among women, 42% said they would delay retirement because they need their employer’s health insurance, compared to 29% of men.

Workers planning to delay retirement were more often single than married and more likely to be male than female.

Among single-income people, 19% said they had yet to start saving for retirement, compared to 11% of dual-income workers.

Deborah Pont, a Fidelity spokeswoman, notes single-income people may feel less pressure to save for retirement because they tend to be younger than those in two-income households. “The big challenge in the younger market is getting them to save in a 401(k) plan,” says Pont.

Dual-income households making $50,000 and up tended to say the need to save for college limited their ability to prepare for retirement.

Younger adults (ages 25-40) were more likely than other age groups to cite the need to pay for a child’s college education as hindering their ability to save for retirement, Fidelity found.

Pre-retirees (ages 55-plus) were more likely than other groups to blame poor investment choices and market fluctuations as the reason for a forestalled retirement.

Of those in the 55-plus age group, 38% plan to delay retirement. And of those in this group who plan to delay, 42% said they had not saved enough and 35% said they started saving too late.

Among those aged 41-54 expecting a postponed retirement, 41% stated a late start on savings as the reason. Another 42% of the same group blamed poor investments or market downturns.

Divorce also made an impact on retirement plans. According to the survey, 25% of 41- to 54-year-olds blamed divorce as the reason for a postponed retirement, compared to 19% of all workers.

The national survey was conducted online among more than 1,900 working Americans aged 25 and up with at least $20,000 in household income.

The Key Questions

Investors ready to get serious about retirement planning, Fidelity Investments advises, can identify the steps they need to take by answering these questions:

o Do I know how much I need for retirement and the amount I’ve saved to date?

o Have I developed a written retirement plan, and am I saving enough to meet my goals?

o Am I participating in the tax-advantaged savings opportunities available to me?

o Are my retirement assets invested appropriately for my goals, age and risk tolerance?

o Am I managing spending and debt appropriately, and have I established an emergency fund?