Poll: Putting Out Cigarettes and Shedding Weight Tough as Retirement Saving

November 15, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The challenges of stopping smoking or shedding extra weight are well known, but a poll found that many Americans view saving enough for retirement to be just as tough.

An Allstate news release said its latest Retirement Reality Check found that respondents in general consider themselves disciplined. Yet one-third of the respondents rated quitting smoking and saving for retirement as equally difficult for most people to accomplish (32% and 31% respectively). In comparison, shedding excess pounds was cited as most difficult by only 25% of the respondents.

At the same time, nearly half the survey respondents (44%) acknowledged that the most effective first step to achieving success is setting a goal or having a plan in place to help them save more, quit smoking or reach a healthy weight. And nearly a third (29%) said getting advice from a professional would be an effective first step.

Baby Boomers and women who responded to Allstate’s survey ranked stopping smoking and saving for retirement as their No. 1 challenges, and both groups rated losing weight as the second hardest goal to accomplish. A slightly higher percentage of men (33%) rated quitting smoking as more difficult than saving for retirement (31%), while more women (26%) than men (23%) rated losing weight as hardest to accomplish.

Regionally, respondents living in the West rated saving for retirement as the toughest of the three challenges (38%), followed by those in the Midwest (32%), the South (28%) and the Northeast (26%).

Only those living in the South ranked losing weight (31%) as more difficult than either saving for retirement (28%) or quitting smoking (26%), while respondents from the Northeast were the sole group to rank saving for retirement as the least difficult challenge (26%), ranking stopping smoking as No. 1 (32%) and losing weight as No. 2 (27%). Midwesterners said giving up cigarettes is the most difficult (37%), followed by saving for retirement (32%) and losing weight (20%).