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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

Most Americans Say They're Behind on Retirement Saving: Survey

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Fifty-five percent of working Americans report that they are behind in their retirement saving, including 35% who say they are significantly behind, according to a report released Monday by Bankrate.

Thirty-five percent say they are on track or slightly ahead of where they need to be, while 10% don’t know where they stand.

In 2021, 52% of Americans said they were behind in retirement saving.

YouGov conducted phone interviews for the study in mid-September among a sample of 2,312 American adults.

Thirty-four percent of respondents in this year’s study said they were adding about the same to their retirement accounts as last year, and 25% were adding more. However, 24% said they did not contribute last year and were not doing so this year.

The most likely non-contributors in either year were Gen Zers, those who have not attended college or those earning less than $50,000 a year.

Inflation Is No. 1 Culprit

Fifty-four percent of respondents pointed to inflation as the main reason they are contributing the same or less than last year to their retirement savings. Other reasons for not doing so differ by generation.

Thirty-six percent of Generation Z and 31% of millennials cited new expenses, while only 21% of baby boomers and 15% of Gen X did so.

Keeping cash on hand also differed by age group: Gen Z, 31%; millennials, 24%; Gen X, 19%; and boomers, 17%.

According to the survey, 30% of Gen Z respondents said they were behind in retirement saving. The numbers get worse as age increases: 46% of millennials are behind, as are 65% of Gen X and 71% of boomers.

The survey found that even higher earners are not doing as well as they might, though they are doing better than the average wage earner. Here’s a breakdown by annual earnings:

  • $100,000 or more: 46% are behind, 23% ahead
  • $80,000 to $99,999: 54% behind, 17% ahead
  • Less than $80,000: 59% behind, 13% ahead

More highly educated Americans are likelier to be raising their retirement contributions than less educated ones. For example, 36% of those with a post-graduate degree have boosted their savings, compared with 20% with only a high school diploma.


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