Survey: 21% of adults have nothing saved for retirement

You may have grown up hearing that you should save for retirement as soon as possible — a new report suggests having twice your salary by age 35 — but new data shows that some people haven’t actually put this advice into practice.

New research from Northwestern Mutual’s Planning & Progress Study 2018 shows that 21% of American haven’t saved a dime for their Golden Years— that’s right: $0. Plus, while 33% of working people think they’ll be able to retire between ages 65 and 69, 38% think they’ll have to retire at age 70 or later.

Harris Poll surveyed 2,003 American adults for Northwestern Mutual. Here are a few of the points that stood out.

How prepared Americans are for retirement

The research found that among Baby Boomers, 33% have saved up $0-$25,000 for retirement. Around “one in three” people surveyed haven’t hit $5,000 in retirement savings yet.

Among those who haven’t retired yet, people have varying opinions on the future of Social Security: 24% think it’s “not at all likely” that it will be around when they reach their Golden Years, 51% think it’s “somewhat likely” that it will be and 24% think it’s “extremely likely.”

Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning for Northwestern Mutual, commented on the research in a statement.

“As financial implications of retirement become increasingly complex, inertia just isn’t an option…The good news is that it’s rarely too late to start. In fact, we often compare financial and physical fitness because the hardest part is taking the first step. However, once people commit to a strategy and start seeing positive results, they’re motivated to meet and even exceed their goals.”

People plan to retire at different ages

Of those who plan to put off retirement by working beyond age 65, 45% want to do so “by choice,” with wanting “additional disposable income” being the top reason why at 55%.

Fifty-five percent think they’ll do it out of “necessity,” with the top reason being that they won’t have enough money put away “to retire comfortably,” at 73%.

So, just how freaked out are people about being able to have a “comfortable retirement” when it comes to their finances?

While 22% aren’t “concerned” at all, 52% are “somewhat concerned” and 26% are “extremely concerned.” This data echoes separate, recent findings that 46% of non-retired Americans don’t think they’ll have enough money when they officially leave the workforce.