Most Do Not Want to Dip into Retirement Savings

March 27, 2013 ( – Despite reports that too many retirement plan participants are dipping into their savings, most want to leave their savings intact, a new poll suggests.

Of the more than 1,000 individuals surveyed by ING U.S., more than half (52%) said they consider their retirement savings to be sacred and have never touched this money for other needs.

The data also suggests that Americans avoid the temptation to spend their retirement assets foolishly—only a small percentage (6%) said they have dipped into their retirement savings for an impulse buy. However, extenuating circumstances do sometimes exist—42% said they have been in a bind before and their only option was to tap into their retirement savings. 

The poll results underscore the theme of the company’s recent advertising campaign, which urges Americans to think about more than simply saving for retirement, but setting apart some of their money as “orange money”—this is the money they need to save and set apart from their “green” money, which they use to live their day-to-day lives.    

A recent report suggested 25% of households that use a defined contribution plan for retirement have withdrawn balances for nonretirement spending needs, amounting to more than $70 billion in annual withdrawals (see “Are DC Plan Sponsors Funding Retirement?”). A recently introduced bill aims to help put that money back into retirement savings by allowing participants more time to pay back plan loans (see “Bill Aims to Thwart Retirement Plan Leakage”).