Americans Fear Retirement Savings Shortfall

February 26, 2007 ( - Sixty-two percent of Americans say they have not saved enough for retirement and one third of people say they may never be able to retire, but 90% say they are actively working to improve their retirement outlook, according to a survey by online investment firm Scottrade.

Fifty-six percent of Americans rank retirement as their top financial concern, but about half of Americans ages 18 to 44 have saved less than $25,000 so far for retirement. The study shows that 48% of people surveyed rely on a 401(k) plan as part of their retirement plans, 39% use savings accounts and 33% have an individual retirement account (IRA).

Those ages 34 and under were generally more concerned than older respondents about retirement savings, with more than half in this age group saying they were extremely or very concerned with managing day-to-day expenses, paying for unexpected major expenses, and having too much debt. Fifty-nine percent of 25- to 34-year-olds and 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds are concerned about having enough money for retirement, while 71% of respondents age 35 to 44 said they have not saved enough.

While retirement was the top financial concern, 47% said they were most worried that they wouldn’t have enough for health care-related costs; 44% said they were concerned about protecting family members in case of premature death/disability; 31% said affording education expenses; and 30% said caring for elderly parents/relatives.

About half of Americans age 18 to 44 have saved less than $25,000. In addition, one out of five Americans are not sure how much they should have saved by the time they retire.

The survey also found that respondents were taking the following steps to better their financial situation in retirement, including:

  • 65% of Americans are spending less;
  • 55% are paying down debts;
  • 49% cutting back on credit card usage;
  • 45% are saving more;
  • 30% are working more to earn more; and
  • 25% are looking for a higher paying job.

The 2007 American Retirement Study by Scottrade polled 1,000 Americans 18 years of age or older.