If you’re between the ages of 45 and 65, you’ve probably thought about saving for retirement. But are you actually doing it? A new study gives you a 50-50 shot.
The insurance giant Allianz polled older Americans about their retirement plans and learned a few interesting things…
- 90 percent of “active retirement savers” agree “accumulating enough savings” is crucial to enjoying their retirement.
- Yet 49 percent “think they need to catch up on their retirement savings.”
Sadly, that 49 percent is struggling because they “need help to understand potential solutions to close their savings gap.”
Unprepared for retirement but chasing dreams
Allianz has a term for that 49 percent. It calls them “chasers.” These are 45- to 65-year-olds who admit they aren’t saving enough – but want to.
“Among those Americans actively saving for retirement, our study finds a dramatic difference between those who feel on track and those who feel behind,” says Paul Kelash, an Allianz vice president. “While it’s a positive that they are actively saving for retirement, the level of anxiety is concerning – and many are simply not aware of potential solutions to help them catch up.”
Catching up is a relative term. Allianz found that of the 1,000 Americans they polled, the “mean retirement portfolio” was more than $400,000. Yet the “chasers” suffer from the same problems as most Americans: “They have too many other expenses right now, and one in five say they are saving for other financial goals.”
As a result, two-thirds of these “chasers” fear they’ll run out of money in retirement, while more than 60 percent are convinced they’ll need to keep working instead of retiring.
That’s in line with recent retirement surveys. Earlier this year, other studies confirmed that most Americans expect to work longer and retire later – when they’re 70 years old. Even worse, most have no clue how their retirement plans even work.
Stop chasing, start investing
Allianz’s study proves that knowledge isn’t only power, it’s cash. While the company is probably pleased that many “chasers” desire expert advice – a service Allianz provides for a price – it’s also true that “chasers” (and everyone else) can avail themselves of free resources.
The first place to start is at work. If you have access to a 401(k), experts say you should embrace it immediately. As Debt.com has reported, “The best way to save for retirement is a 401(k), says everyone who has a 401(k).”
These plans match anywhere from two to seven percent of your own contributions, which means a lot of free money you can invest in your retirement. Debt.com has also reported that four out of five employees have access to a 401(k) – but of course, most don’t take advantage of it.
Allianz found the same thing: “Only 53 percent of chasers have an individual retirement account (IRA), and even fewer own individual stocks (35 percent), mutual funds (35 percent), have a pension (37 percent) or own an annuity (14 percent).”
Kelash, the Allianz VP, suggests “chasers” must “be more aggressive” in their investments. But for those without $400,000 retirement portfolios, the first step is getting rid of debt. Without doing that, you’re paying someone else a hefty interest rate instead of paying yourself. To learn more, visit Debt.com’s educational section called How to Get Out of Debt.