Nearly Half of Americans Not Saving For Retirement

May 9, 2012 ( – Forty-nine percent of Americans say they are not contributing to a retirement plan, according to a survey from LIMRA.  

Americans ages 18 to 34 were more likely (56%) to be among those not saving for retirement.

The survey found that only one-quarter of all Americans and less than one-third of Americans older than age 50 worked with a financial professional to plan for retirement. Seventy percent of respondents reported that their financial professionals recommended how much they should save for retirement.

Younger and higher-income consumers are more likely to be considering contributing to an IRA in the next year. But nearly half of all consumers said they are not planning to contribute to an IRA because they could not afford to do so.

The survey also revealed consumers’ lack of knowledge about IRAs. On average, consumers answered almost half the questions posed about IRAs incorrectly; those consumers who currently contribute to IRAs answered only slightly better than non-IRA-owners.

“The findings from this survey were disturbing, given that people will increasingly need to rely on their personal savings to make ends meet in retirement,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director, LIMRA Retirement Research. “It was especially troubling to see that a larger portion of younger Americans—who are less likely to have a defined benefit plan—are not saving for retirement in IRAs or defined contribution plans. In order to have the adequate savings necessary to meet their financial needs in retirement, which could last 20 or more years, it is critical that these individuals begin saving systematically early in their working years.”

The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of 2,697 Americans who are either the primary financial decision makers or share responsibility for making financial decisions. The survey was fielded in April 2012.