Why Over 40% of Americans Aren't Saving For Retirement - And Why They Should Start

Why Over 40% of Americans Aren't Saving For Retirement - And Why They Should Start

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Over 40% of Americans surveyed say they are not saving for retirement, including those aged 45 to 65, which is generally considered peak savings time. If you inclued younger working people, aged 18-34, the number climbs to 50%. Younger workers say that they just aren't saving, despite it being hammered into their head since a young age that saving now will make retirement easier.

According to Stash, who surveyed over 2,000 Americans online this month, 70% of those not saving for retirement say it’s because they literally cannot afford to - the money just isn't there. With the amount of people in moderate to severe debt, this isn't really a shocking situation. Nearly 40% of survey respondents said they’re not saving for retirement because they’re using the money they do have to pay off existing debt. Currently, Americans sit on over $1 trillion in credit card debt, and nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. It's a tough hill to climb.

Other issues, though, seem to face younger workers. Many don’t feel the need to save for retirement at all, even though nearly 15% are offered a 401K through their employer - they simply choose not to take advantage. Nearly 50% of that same age group say they don’t save for retirement because that day is too far away, and they’d rather elect to live in “the now.”

While living "in the now" is fine, doing so certainly doesn’t mean you should ignore the future. About 35% of Americans believe the average person won’t even be able to retire because they didn’t start saving early enough - which means that those in their 30s have given up before they've started in many cases. Another 30% blame low wages, and still another 30% say it’s because programs like Social Security won’t be enough or won’t exist at all by the time they retire.

Even despite this, nearly 80% of Americans still believe they will be able to retire someday—regardless of if they’re currently saving or not. Ironically, those surveyed were less optimistic about their colleagues. When asked about the ability of others they know - friends, co-workers, and family members, and what they feel about their retirement, nearly 80% said they don't think that person will be able to retire at all.

The last category of those surveyed may see themselves having the bleakest future of them all - nearly 10% of Americans think they’ll never stop working.

To these people, the message may be lost, but still must be stated: start saving - even if it’s only a few bucks per week. You will thank yourself when you're older.