How’s your retirement plan going?
Not so well, if you’re typical of those surveyed by Wells Fargo, which this week said that 41-percent of “middle class” Americans in their 50s are not saving for retirement.
Half of them say they won’t have enough money to live on in retirement, which they think will be about $250,000 (note: they’re dreaming).
Curiously, according to the survey, the older people are getting, the less they seem to be putting away.
Excluding younger middle-class Americans who may be earning less money, respondents between the ages of 30 and 49 are putting away a median amount of $200 each month for retirement, whereas those between the ages of 50 and 59 are putting away a median of $78 each month for retirement.
The survey reveals, again, a fact of the economy: People might be working, but they’re not getting ahead.
Unanswered, however, is this: Whose fault is that?
Sixty-one percent of all middle-class Americans, across all income levels included in the survey, admit they are not sacrificing “a lot” to save for retirement, whereas 38% say that they are sacrificing to save money for retirement.
“Saving for retirement isn’t easy. It requires sacrifice, and it’s not something people can push off and hope to achieve later in life. If people in their 20s, 30s or 40s aren’t saving today, they are losing the benefit of time compounding the value of their money. That growth can’t be made up later, so people have to commit early in life to make savings a regular discipline year after year – it is the only way most people will achieve their financial goals to carry them through retirement,” said Joe Ready, director of Institutional Retirement and Trust.
While a majority of middle-class Americans say that they are not sacrificing a lot to save for retirement, 72% of all middle-class Americans say they should have started saving earlier for retirement, up from 65% in 2013. When respondents were asked if they would cut spending “tomorrow” in certain areas in order to save for retirement, half said they would: 56% say they would give up treating themselves to indulgences like spa treatments, jewelry, or impulse purchases; 55% say they’d cut eating out at restaurants “as often”; and 51% say they would give up a major purchase like a car, a computer or a home renovation. Notably, fewer people (38%) report that they would forgo a vacation to save for retirement.
A fair percentage of those surveyed said they’d rather “die early” than run out of money in retirement.
Take most of this with a grain of salt. Links in the survey take you to a pitch for financial products from the bank, several of which will pay you next to nothing in return for socking money away, given the interest rates banks are paying.