Survey finds most Americans not adequately saving for retirement

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:54 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - October is National Financial Planning month. It’s a good time to start thinking about retirement and the money you’ll need to have saved up when you stop working and want to retire.

Regions Bank just completed a survey that found many Americans need help getting on track with savings to retire comfortably. The survey was conducted by Regions Next Step, the bank’s free financial education program.

According to the survey, Americans’ top priority for retirement is maintaining a comfortable lifestyle, with just under half of respondents, 45%, saying it is essential to them when thinking about their retirement goals. However, 65% of respondents are not confident they will save enough to retire comfortably. That confidence varies by gender, with 39% of men feeling somewhat or very confident compared with 31% of women.

Confidence also varies by income, with only 20% of respondents who make under $40,000 annually reflecting confidence in their savings plans, and 32% who make between $40,000 and $80,000 reflecting confidence.

“While this survey highlights a gap between what people want from retirement and how they are planning for it, there is good news in that free financial resources are available to help people plan for the future, no matter how much or how little they have saved so far,” said Scott Peters, head of the Consumer Banking Group at Regions Bank. “Financial wellness is a top priority for Regions Bank, and that extends beyond our free Regions Next Step tools on and into our branch locations. Our teams work one-on-one with people to help them better understand their finances and provide solutions to reach their goals. It often begins with a simple conversation, and we encourage everyone, whether they are just starting to think about retirement or whether retirement is fast approaching, to come talk to us about practical ways to build their savings and grow more confident in their financial futures.”

The recent Regions Next Step survey also suggests how often people set aside money may impact their confidence. Those who are very or somewhat confident are on track to reach their retirement goals, 52% save for retirement in regular increments or periods. In contrast, 23% of those who are only a little or not confident save regularly. In addition, 37% of those feeling only a little or not optimistic about their retirements report they are not currently saving at all.

Respondents shared financial obligations they see as obstacles to saving for retirement. Almost half of those surveyed cited daily living expenses as the most significant obstacle (45%). This was followed by housing payments, 34%, medical debt, 24%, saving for other goals, such as starting a family or buying a house, 21%, and the financial impact of COVID-19, 20%.

Results also show there are knowledge gaps when it comes to retirement saving and planning. Around half of respondents do not feel knowledgeable about how to save for a comfortable retirement, 47%, the difference between various saving types, 51%, or making decisions about how their savings are invested, 51%. Even those confident they will save still enough report knowledge gaps about how much to save, 30%, the difference between various savings types, 36%, and making decisions about investing their savings, 31%.

Regions Bank has some free resources to help plan and save for retirement found here :

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