Only 29% of working Americans increased their retirement savings contributions in 2018 vs. 2017, and 16% saved less for retirement than they had in the prior year, according to new research from Bankrate.com.
Still, the percentage of those who raised their contributions last year was nearly double the 2011 rate, when just 15% of workers increased their retirement contributions from the previous year.
Forty-six percent of research participants reported that they are saving the same amount as last year, with little difference among income groups.
Bankrate conducted the study via landline and cell phone by SSRS on its Omnibus survey platform between July 23 and Aug. 4, 2019, among a sample of 2,016 respondents.
The study found that the tendency to save more for retirement this year than last year increased with income level. Forty-one percent of households with $75,000 or more of income increased contributions this year, compared with 20% of those with $30,000 or less of income.
Conversely, the lowest earners were four times likelier than the highest earners to be saving less for retirement this year, and one in 10 of the former did not save anything for retirement last year or this year.
The likelihood of increasing retirement contributions is consistent among those between the ages of 23 and 64, with millennials 30 to 38 likeliest to say so. Among workers 65 and older, the tendency to have decreased retirement contributions rises as hours worked tends to decline for those easing into retirement.