Monday, March 15, 2010

Ready for Retirement? Lots of People Aren't.

MikeS was kind enough to bring this CNN Money article to my attention last week (thanks again, MikeS). In short, 1153 workers and retirees were surveyed and 43% of them had less than $10,000 saved up for retirement - not including their house or pension.

When I started reading, I was ready to be frustrated that so many have so little for their own retirement. By the end of the article, I still felt that way but not because of these survey results. Call me whatever, but a home and a pension count towards retirement, right?

Then I saw this little poll on the side of an article I was reading on Yahoo…it whacked me in the face pretty hard since almost 10,000 people had responded with how much they contribute to a retirement account:
  • 31% are saving 1-6%
  • 18% are saving 7-10%
  • 8% are saving 11-15%
  • 8% are saving more than 15%
  • AND 34% aren’t contributing to a retirement account at all
About a third of the respondents aren’t contributing to a retirement account at all!!! I understand that not everybody has access to a 401k or an equivalent, but I interpret this to mean that they aren’t contributing to any kind of IRA or retirement savings account either…that’s just insane to me.

Are you saving for retirement?

As I've posted before, our main financial goal is early retirement, so we are really dedicated (aka gazelle-intense…lol…that always makes me laugh and look around for predators).

Even if people don't want to leave their jobs, I do hope that most people over the age of 30 will start funding their own retirement. I would hate to know that I’d have to work until I die even if I wanted to…the difference between having choices and not having choices is gigantic to me.

What’s your take on all this? What did you think about the article?


  1. I would say the results don't surprise me. Most people have a hard time thinking long-term and just don't save. I'm in the 7-10% bucket right now. My plan is to increase that 1% every year when I get a raise. By the time I'm in my 50's, I'll be putting away about a third of my check for retirement. When my wife goes back to work in a few years, we'll be putting 25% of her pay aside for retirement and then also increasing that 1% a year. I'm a numbers geek, so I've got a spreadsheet with all the calculations. But it helps me to know what I'm tracking towards and whether I'm on the path to achieve my goals.

  2. We are putting away just under 15% of gross income into retirement savings right now. I'm not sure if we will increase that amount as time goes on. I will have to see how things go. Both of us get around a 40% pension if we retire at 57, more if we retire later. I'm not banking on it, but we will be pretty set for retirement if it stays that way.

  3. MikeS, that sounds like a great plan! Having 25% of your wife's salary to put away will be a huge help too!

  4. Julie, based on what you make, 15% should set you two up for a fantastic retirement! We're in the 11%-15% bucket not including hubby's pension...honestly, I think that will be fine. Hope your pensions hold up too!

  5. Currently at 15% into 401k and have been since I was 20. I'm now 26.

  6. chicop28, nice! I started contributing as soon as I could when I was have a great head start!

  7. I started contributing late and I'm now in the 7-10% like MikeS. I don't feel it's enough but part of me also thinks it's too much as, due to health issues and family history, I'm pretty sure I won't reach retirement age (65 for me).

    I'll admit to counting heavily on my house to fund my later years. I'm hell bent on paying off my mortgage as quickly as I can and plan to keep it well maintained and current until it gets to be too much for me.

    I'm really torn on this part of my finances; I have no children, no one to really leave money behind for, and the women in my family have consistently died before or at retirement age... So why save? Then again, what if I'm the oddball that lives to 95? I don't want to spent my last decades in absolute poverty.

    Enjoy now, or plan for a later that will likely never some. Tough call.

  8. Mylena, in your shoes, I'd join a bunch of groups (like Yahoo Meetup or whatever's in your area) and form a close group of friends. That way, you'll have people to spend your money with one way or another. :-)

    I'd also plan to live past 65 since there are medical advancements every day. I'm sorry you have that to deal with.