Everyday money matters are dramatically impacting the lives and retirement saving efforts of Americans, according to a new survey from Schwab Retirement Plan Services.
The nationwide survey of 1,000 workers with access to a 401(k) plan – half of whom are actively contributing to it (“savers”) and half of whom are not (“non-savers”) – reveals that non-savers are increasingly challenged by day-to-day financial stresses, compounded especially by credit card debt.
More than twice as many non-savers as savers say keeping up with monthly expenses is a significant source of stress (42% compared with 20%). A full 45% of non-savers say they either have no money left over or are actually behind on bills at the end of each month, compared with 23% of 401(k)-savers who say the same.
Workers in the survey identified a number of sources of financial stress.
When asked about their primary obstacles to saving for retirement, non-savers focused on immediate concerns including needing to pay monthly bills (46%), paying off credit card debt (42%), covering unexpected expenses like home repairs (34%), and paying medical bills (33%).
Savers have similar concerns, but generally in smaller numbers: unexpected expenses (36%), monthly bills (31%), being unwilling to sacrifice things that add to their quality of life (29%), and credit card debt (29%) top their list.
“Americans have many legitimate and immediate financial concerns preventing them from setting aside funds for retirement. The good news is that both 401(k) savers and non-savers understand they are responsible for their own retirement, and some may just need a little guidance to help them take steps in the right direction,” Steve Anderson, president of Schwab Retirement Plan Services, said in a statement.