Chinese Americans Saving More for Retirement

June 4, 2013 ( – Chinese Americans are saving more for retirement, on average reporting twice the national savings among non-retired adults and significantly higher savings rates than the national average, according to a survey from Wells Fargo.

The survey found that non-retired Chinese Americans have median self-reported retirement savings of $100,000, as compared with $45,000 for non-retired Americans. Saving is more of a priority for Chinese Americans, with 43% cutting back on spending to save for retirement (versus 36% of the general population). Only one in four Chinese Americans (24%) agree that current expenses prevent them from saving for the future (versus 39% of general population). And nearly two-thirds (63%) are confident that they will be able to continue their lifestyle in retirement, compared with fewer than half (48%) the general population.

Roughly two-thirds of Chinese-Americans report feeling financially comfortable (67%) and are confident about their financial future (65%), compared with only about half of all U.S. adults. Three in five (60%) Chinese Americans feel they are better off financially compared to three years ago (versus 51% of U.S. households). Chinese Americans also reported significantly higher household incomes, with about a third (37%) earning over $100,000 annually (versus 23% of all U.S. adults).

“The good news is that many Chinese Americans already have a solid foundation to meet their long-term financial goals,” said Margaret Liu, senior trust and fiduciary specialist of Wells Fargo Private Bank. “However, not all of them have maximized their investment potential. Despite making retirement savings a priority, only two in five (43%) have a written retirement plan. The next step is to get pen to paper, and have a roadmap of where they’d like to go and how to get there. This includes a need for sound investment advice.”


Chinese Americans are more likely to live within their means and less likely to spend more than they can afford. Most (65%) report paying off credit card balances every month, compared with just 42% of all Americans. In fact, while 24% of all Americans report at least $5,000 in carry-over credit card debt each month, only half as many (11%) Chinese Americans carry this level of debt. Only one in five Chinese Americans (22%) report having more debt than they are comfortable with, about half as often as the national response of 38%. Only 17% of Chinese Americans said they are spending more than they can afford (versus 25% of the general population).

The survey also showed that compared to the national average, Chinese Americans generally appear somewhat more optimistic about the economic direction of the U.S. and local economies. A majority (55%) of Chinese Americans expect that the national economy will improve in the next two years (compared with 47% of all U.S. adults), and only 14% of Chinese Americans think it will decline (versus 33% overall). Chinese Americans are especially positive about recent improvements in the housing market. Two-thirds (67%) of Chinese Americans see improvement in the local housing market, considerably more than the national average (54%).

The survey was conducted online between November 9 and December 3, 2012 among adults nationwide and Chinese Americans. Qualified respondents were nonstudents, ages 25 to 75, who are the primary or joint financial decision-maker in the household with household investable assets of at least $10,000. Survey results are weighted to reflect U.S. Census data for gender, age, race/ethnicity, region and household income.