We'd rather research travel and home appliances instead of saving for golden years

Who needs money in retirement when we can just buy a new car instead?

Americans would rather put more time, effort, and money into researching vacations and their future vehicles than make financial investments, according to a survey from Schwab Retirement Plan Services.

On average, Americans spent two and a half hours working on their investment options last year, but they also spent three and a half hours researching vacation opportunities. They spent almost six hours researching their next car purchase. In short: more Americans care about right now than later in life — even those who are closer to retirement age than others.

The right now people are also suffering from huge financial stress. According to the survey, both savers and nonsavers alike admit that they are stressed about their debt, but nonsavers are twice as likely to be stressed about money as those who are stashing away cash — 42 percent of savers, compared to 20 percent of spenders.

“What’s important for everyone to remember is that no matter how far away retirement may seem, the more you can prepare for it in the present, the better off you’ll be at the end of your career,” says Steve Anderson, president of Schwab Retirement Plan Services.

This means the right now people need to start thinking about life after today so their future selves will thank them later.

Even low retirement contributions are a lot for some: Schwab says that 60 percent of savers and 53 percent of nonsavers say their 401(k) is their largest (or only) source of retirement savings, even if they have only contributed once or no longer contribute.

Non-savers = bad money management

The Schwab survey is part of a larger money problem among people who don’t save money, and that is bad or no budgeting. Nonsavers admit that among the biggest reasons they aren’t saving is because they need to pay monthly bills; pay off credit card debt; or pay unexpected expenses, like home or auto needs and medical bills. Savers faced the same financial struggles, just in smaller numbers: Savers’ biggest concern was unexpected expenses at 36 percent, while nonsavers faced monthly bills as their top issue, at 46 percent.

“In hindsight, nonsavers recognize the impact that debt is having on their ability to save,” the survey says. “When asked to select the one thing they would change about the way they managed their finances in the past, 26 percent of nonsavers say they would have accumulated less debt.”

In reality, many Americans are right now-ers: They don’t have a lot saved for retirement because they don’t have a lot of money left over after barely making ends meet. So what are they going to do when they hit retirement age? Just keep working, of course.

Most of us plan on working until we die because there’s no way we’ll be able to save enough money without working and are terrified of outliving their savings. Unfortunately, the huge burden of financial stress is literally killing us, so it looks like there’s no safe way to live.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


save money, vacations

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Article last modified on October 3, 2017 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Americans are More Invested in Vacations than Retirement - AMP.