Only a Quarter of Americans Report no Distraction to Saving for Retirement

October 18, 2011 ( -  Only a quarter (28%) of Americans say nothing has gotten in the way of saving for retirement.

For most, children, household bills, and job loss are life events that most often get in the way of saving. A survey from ING DIRECT found a majority of Americans (89%) agree that saving for retirement should start with your first job and continue throughout your working life.

While Americans know they should be saving, they are making too many excuses or are not paying enough attention, according to a press release. More than a third (34%) of those who deduct a percentage of their paycheck and just under half (47%) of those who give a fixed amount, don’t know how much they currently contribute. And a third of Americans (33%) think it’s okay to defer retirement savings to pay for another need.

Americans of all ages and sexes are forgoing retirement planning, but there are marked differences between older and younger generations. And while women are often making financial and purchasing decisions for their households, the survey found they are not taking the same care as they plan for their own golden years.

The Roaring 20’s 

  • Most Americans just starting out are less concerned with savings and retirement, and their lack of nest egg funds proves it.
  • Less than a third (32%) of those in their 20’s are currently contributing to a retirement plan.
  • About seven in 10 (68%) of those in their 20’s haven’t used an account to save for retirement.
  • Those in their 20’s are less likely to agree that retirement should start with your first job and continue through your working life.
  • One in five (21%) Americans in their 20’s say paying off student loans is a higher priority than retirement.
  • Of those in their 20’s, less than half have checked their credit score (43%) or read about financial planning (42%).
  • Less than one in five (19%) have an emergency fund. 

The Financially Savvy 40's and Beyond 

  • Older and wiser Americans have learned from their youthful carelessness, and are focused on saving for the retirement lifestyle that's just around the bend.
  • About half of those 40 or older have used a 401(k) to save for retirement.
  • Nearly half (46%) of those in their 50's think they are saving enough for retirement.
  • Less than half of those 50-59 have created a will (48%) or purchased term life insurance (49%).
  • Almost all (91%) of those 50-59 believe saving for retirement should start with your first job and continue throughout your working life to ensure a secure retirement.
  • More than half (54%) of those 50-59 disagree that just 5% yearly annual salary contribution to a retirement plan will provide a secure retirement.

According to the press release, women aren't preparing for retirement as well as men are, but they are more likely to admit their mistakes. The survey revealed that women are more likely than men to say that they wish they had started saving for retirement earlier. And of those women, the majority (58%) wish they had started saving in their 20's.

Two national phone surveys were conducted within the U.S. by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA on August 31 through September 4, 2011, and September 7 through September 11, 2011, among 2,000 adults age 18+ with 500 males and 500 females in each.