Only 46% of Americans have an individual retirement account, even though 70% fear not having enough money to live on in retirement.

A study by Fidelity Investments, Boston, also found only 7% of non-IRA holders plan to open an IRA before the April 16 tax deadline, despite incentives to do so under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006. For instance, the act allows Americans to have their tax refund directly deposited into up to 3 different accounts, including an IRA.

Even current IRA holders surveyed are not taking full advantage of their existing accounts, the survey found. Only 37% contributed for the 2006 tax year as of December 1, and only 16% say they are likely to contribute before the April tax filing deadline.

Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed (500 IRA owners and 500 non-IRA owners), almost half (46%) of non-IRA owners mistakenly thought they needed to make the maximum annual dollar amount contribution to open an IRA. In addition, 59% did not realize they could contribute to a rollover IRA.

Moreover, only 52% of non-IRA owners surveyed knew that they could contribute to both an IRA and an employer-sponsored plan in the same year.