Nest Eggs Deferred as Americans Turn a Blind Eye Toward Retirement

ING DIRECT USA Survey Reveals 43 Percent Wish They Had Started Saving Earlier

Oct 18, 2011, 10:00 ET from ING DIRECT

WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Only a quarter (28 percent) of Americans say nothing has gotten in the way of saving for retirement; for most, children, household bills and job loss are life events that most often get in the way. However, a new survey from ING DIRECT found that a majority of Americans (89 percent) agree that saving for retirement should start with your first job and continue throughout your working life.

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While Americans know they should be saving, they are making too many excuses or are not paying enough attention. More than a third (34 percent) of those who deduct a percentage of their paycheck and just under half (47 percent) of those who give a fixed amount, don't know how much they currently contribute. And a third of Americans (33 percent) think it's OK to defer retirement savings to pay for another need.

"You have to plan for retirement from day one in the workforce, even as little as a five percent salary contribution annually is going to help retirement come sooner," said Arkadi Kuhlmann, President and CEO of ING DIRECT USA. "By using the tools available to help you plan, you can have the retirement lifestyle you always wanted."

Americans of all ages and sexes are forgoing retirement planning, but there are marked differences between older and younger generations. And while women are often making financial and purchasing decisions for their households, the survey found they are not taking the same care as they plan for their own golden years.

The Roaring 20's

Most Americans just starting out are less concerned with savings and retirement, and their lack of nest egg funds proves it.

  • Less than a third (32 percent) of those in their 20's are currently contributing to a retirement plan
  • About 7 in 10 (68 percent) of those in their 20's haven't used an account to save for retirement
  • Those in their 20's are less likely to agree that retirement should start with your first job and continue through your working life
  • One in five (21 percent) of Americans in their 20's say paying off student loans is a higher priority than retirement
  • Of those in their 20's, less than half have checked their credit score (43 percent) or read about financial planning (42 percent)
  • Less than one in five (19 percent) have an emergency fund

The Financially Savvy 40's and Beyond

Older and wiser Americans have learned from their youthful carelessness, and are focused on saving for the retirement lifestyle that's just around the bend.

  • About half of those 40 or older have used a 401k to save for retirement
  • Almost half (46 percent) of those in their 50's think they are saving enough for retirement
  • Less than half of those 50-59 have created a will (48 percent) or purchased term life insurance (49 percent)
  • Almost all (91 percent) of those 50-59 believe saving for retirement should start with your first job and continue throughout your working life to ensure a secure retirement
  • More than half (54 percent) of those 50-59 disagree that just five percent yearly annual salary contribution to a retirement plan will provide a secure retirement

Not a surprise, women aren't preparing for retirement as well as men are but they are more likely to admit their mistakes – the survey revealed that women are more likely than men to say that they wish they had started saving for retirement earlier. And of those women, the majority (58 percent) wishes they had started saving in their 20's. By using tools available like Retire My Way, both women and men can better define their retirement goals and develop a personalized plan to achieve the retirement they have always dreamed of.

Survey Methodology

Two national phone surveys were conducted within the United States by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA August 31 through September 4, 2011 and September 7 through September 11, 2011 among 2,000 adults age 18+, 500 males, 500 females in each. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.


ING DIRECT, the nation's largest direct bank and largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.6 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to nearly $91.3 billion in assets.  ING DIRECT has developed a comprehensive social media Savers Community, including Twitter, Facebook and its We, The Savers blog.  For more information about ING DIRECT call 1-800-ING-DIRECT, and for information about its commitment to financial education visit Planet Orange.  

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Tara Chiarell