Americans Still Lagging in Saving for Retirement

According to a new survey, while Americans’ saving habits in preparing for retirement have improved somewhat in the last few years, many workers are still not saving for the future and have not developed a plan to do so.

Although their saving habits have improved in recent years, a new survey has found that many Americans are still failing to save enough for retirement.

The 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that the number of workers who said they were “very confident” about having enough money for retirement was up from 13% in 2013 to 21% in 2016. However, it is actually down a point since 2015 where it peaked at 22%.

Workers who claimed to be “somewhat confident” rose from 36% in 2015 to 42% in 2016, and those “not at all confident” went down from 24% in 2015 to 19% in 2016.

How do the actual dollar amounts come out?

The chart below shows the amount that workers have put away over the last 12 years. 26% of respondents have less than $1,000 saved and of those, 67% of have no plan for retirement. Over half have less than $25,000 saved for retirement. On the plus side, however, 26% had at least $100,000 or more put away.

Image showing table of workers' savings and investments

For those who are behind on saving, their solution is to either save more money later or work longer. 20% say they will have to save more later, while 15% say they will have to work in retirement and 14% say they will have to retire later than planned. The risk with that strategy, however, is that many retirees say they were unable to work longer because they were forced to leave the workforce earlier than planned (such as health problems or disability).

Table showing Americans' savings and investments by age

Chart showing Americans' estimated amounts they will need for retirement, by age

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.