There's bad news in a new retirement survey of 2,004 individuals (1,003 workers and 1,001 retirees) age 25 or older from the Employee Benefit Research Institute
and Greenwald & Associates.
The report shows that only 67 percent of American workers or their spouse have saved money for retirement. That's far below the 75 percent figure of 2009, though it's consistent with levels reported since then. Even among workers employed full time, 22 percent haven't saved for retirement.
A total of 61 percent of workers say they or their spouse is currently saving for retirement, up from 57 percent in 2013 and 2014, but down from 65 percent in 2009.
A total of 57 percent of the workers say the value of their household savings and investments, excluding their primary home and defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000. And 28 percent report that it's less than $1,000.
Some of the blame apparently lies with us: 69 percent say they are making enough money to save $25 a week more than they are now, up from 62 percent in 2011. That includes 55 percent who haven't saved anything for retirement.
So how much retirement savings do you need?
If you're in your mid-50s to early 60s, you should have six to nine times your salary in your retirement accounts to maintain your present standard of living, says Walter Updegrave, editor of RealDealRetirement.com
So what can you do if you're falling short of that?
- "Ramp up your savings rate," he says. "Many people look for an investing solution to bail them out," such as a hot stock. "But that can backfire, leaving you worse off." A better strategy: "maintain a moderate investing stance — keeping, say, 40 to 60 percent of your savings in stocks — and focus on finding ways to save as much as you can.
- "Put in a few extra years on the job." That allows you to save more money for retirement, and it allows you to continue your current standard of living without drawing down your retirement assets. It also allows you to delay receiving Social Security benefits, which increases your ultimate payout.
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