Americans Have Savings on their Minds

December 21, 2005 ( - As Americans pause for a moment this holiday season to ponder their New Year's resolutions, many will be thinking about the health of their savings.

A Delaware Investments news release said that its recent survey found that the primary savings goal for many people is to set aside enough to live on in retirement. However, oddly enough, only a small subset of that group said they planned to open a tax-deferred retirement savings plan including those offered by their employer.

“We were pleased to learn that so many Americans are focusing on critical issues, such as saving for retirement, in their resolutions for 2006. This shows that Americans are paying attention to the growing worry among experts that individuals are not adequately prepared for the reality of funding their retirements,” said Executive Vice President, Chief of Sales, Client Services and Marketing Kevin Lucey, in the Delaware Investments announcement. “However, we were concerned to find out that many of them are not planning to take advantage of all of the options available to them. Most experts agree that taking full advantage of 401(k)/403(b) programs and IRAs is the best first step toward preparing for retirement.”

The poll found that: the resolutions (in order) included:

  • saving more money (80%)
  • paying off credit card debt (56%)
  • paying off other debt, including mortgages and home equity loans, college loans and car loans (32%).

Of those who said they planned to save more money, nearly half (49%) said they needed to prepare for retirement, but only 13% listed increasing their contribution to their 401(k)/403(b) as a goal for 2006. Even fewer (less than 10%) chose opening or increasing contributions to an IRA.

Other poll findings included:

  • 29% said they wanted to spend more time assessing their financial position,
  • 27% said that they planned to make a will in 2006, and
  • 18% said they planned to spend time teaching their children to manage money.

The nationwide survey of more than 9,000 adults aged 18 and older was conducted in late November 2005 by Synovate, a global market research company.