U.S. adults in all age groups tend to have similar savings goals, and many of them agree on the importance of knowing more about the value of slow-but-steady savings strategies.
Researchers at the Consumer Federation of America, Washington, and Wachovia Corp., Charlotte, N.C., have published those findings in a report based on a recent survey of about 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
The percentage of participants who said saving for retirement is very important or somewhat important was 91% for all participants, and the percentage of participants in the 18-24 age category who identified retirement savings as very or somewhat important was 87%, even though many participants in that age group are still saving for or paying for college.
Participants in different income groups also expressed similar views about the importance of saving for retirement.
Income differences had a much more noticeable effect on attitudes about ways to encourage people to save more for retirement.
When researchers asked the participants who said they were not saving adequately about methods for persuading them to save more, many participants earning less than $50,000 per year said they would like to get advice from a credit counselor, encouragement from their banks or credit unions, encouragement from their employers, or advice from financial planners or advisors.
Participants with inadequate savings with annual household incomes greater than $50,000 expressed more interest in automatic transfers from direct payroll deposits or checking to savings accounts, easy access to savings accounts paying 5% interest, or access to 401(k) plans at work.
The researchers found that a majority of participants with inadequate savings with annual household incomes under $75,000 — and 43% of the participants with inadequate savings in homes earning more than $75,000 – said they might save more if they knew that “saving $200 a month for 40 years at a 5% interest rate” would lead to a total of more than $300,000 in savings.
The researchers also found that “saving loose change” plays a major role in the finances even of relatively high-income consumers.
Among all survey participants who are saving for financial needs, 31% said “saving loose change” is a very important strategy.
The percentage identifying “saving loose change” as very important was 47% for participants with annual household incomes under $25,000 and 44% for participants with household incomes between $25,000 and $35,000, but it was 26% even for participants in households earning more than $75,000.