More than half of Americans feel “behind” on retirement savings

Sep 27, 2023, 5:00 PM

Image of the words 'happy retirement' scratched into sand on the beach. A Bankrate survey found hal...

A Bankrate survey found half of those Americans asked feel they are behind in their retirement savings. (Adobe Stock)

(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY — Have you saved enough for your retirement? If not, you are with the majority of the country.

Bankrate found that over half (56%) of American workers say they feel behind on their retirement savings, including 37% who say they feel “significantly behind.”

Only 16% of those polled say they feel they are ahead of where they should be, including 6% who feel “significantly ahead.”

The Bankrate poll also discovered:

Nearly one in three (32 percent) U.S. adults working full-time, part-time or who are temporarily unemployed estimate they would need more than $1 million to retire comfortably, but 45 percent of workers say it’s unlikely they’ll be able to save enough to do that.

Along with presenting how some Americans are feeling about retirement, Bankrate also has some suggestions for saving.

Let your workplace help with your retirement

Bankrate Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick says the first thing people should do is find out if their employer has a 401K matching program. 

401(k) is one of the most popular tax-advantaged types of retirement accounts offered by employers in which you contribute your pre-tax wages, often matched in part by your workplace, according to the Bankrate survey.

“Everything in America, reasonably speaking, is attainable if we make it a priority; that’s the tale of success of our country,” Hamrick told KSL NewsRadio.

He recommends young workers start now by saving money and paying down “essentially historically high” debt such as credit cards. This, he said, is the best position to be in as you approach retirement age.

Those who are living the “fear-of-missing-out lifestyle” now will likely be missing out in retirement, Hamrick said. Whereas those who are now living beneath their means are in the best position to retire well, he added.

Advice from Dave’s dad

Dave said his dad told him he will likely have some debt his entire life, so pay off your debt while saving money.

Hamrick agreed but said start with the highest-cost debt or that which is the most costly in terms of an annual percentage rate, such as credit cards with 20% or higher interest rates. 

After taming the credit cards, he said, move to lower interest-rate debt, such as a mortgage interest, which has now risen to 7%.

“But, you know, that is historically the average. People like me were taking on double-digit percentage mortgage rates a few decades ago.

“We’re seeing some of the best returns on things like bonds and CDs, etc. The best returns we’ve seen there in many, many years,” Hamrick said.

Related: It’s never too late to start saving for retirement, expert says

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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More than half of Americans feel “behind” on retirement savings