Americans Are Slow to Fill Their Retirement Nest Eggs

One-fourth of American workers have saved less than $1,000 for their retirement, according to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).  The EBRI survey reveals that 27 percent reported saving less than $1,000 for retirement, not counting the value of their home or defined-benefit plans.  A similar percentage reported saving between $1,000 and $24,999 for retirement.  An additional 23 percent had saved between $25,000 and $99,999; just 11 percent saved more than $250,000.

Younger employees have time to build their nest eggs, but the 11 percent may be the only group who have saved adequately to live out their retirement in comfort.  The last three years has seen a sharp decline in the percentage of people who said they were “very confident” about their financial security in retirement.  That statistic fell to 16 percent compared with the 27 percent reported in 2007.  In the survey, 38 percent said they are somewhat assured they will be able to live comfortably after retirement.  Less than 50 percent expressed concern about their readiness for retirement.

Even with the lack of personal savings, the survey found that the majority of respondents planned to rely on retirement income from sources like Social Security or company pensions.  The increase in 401 (k) programs and decline in defined-benefit plans assures that more people will have to rely on their own savings to see them through retirement.

Two-thirds of survey respondents reported that they felt they were doing a good job of preparing for retirement, while two thirds were very or somewhat confident of their efforts.