Ninety-three percent of working Americans know they should be
contributing to their retirement, but only 72 percent are doing so.
Saving for kids’ education keeps more Americans up at night than
planning for retirement.
Despite Americans estimating they should be contributing 12.1 percent
of their income on average, only an estimated 6.4 percent is currently
Fifty-eight percent of Americans plan to retire by age 65, yet nearly
the same percentage fear they’ll never save enough.
The survey also found Americans are not saving as much of their income
for retirement as they feel they should. While nearly all (93 percent)
think they should be contributing some portion of their income toward
retirement, and half (50 percent) believe it should be more than 10
percent, only one-fifth are currently saving 10 percent or higher.
“Unfortunately, saving for retirement is often put on the back-burner
for what seem like more pressing financial priorities, such as paying
for college,” said Dan Greenshields, president of Capital One
ShareBuilder, Inc. “Now more than ever, Americans are responsible for
ensuring their own financial security during retirement, and the earlier
you begin to plan and save, the better.”
Stressed Out Over Saving
Most Americans are feeling stretched financially, which adds to the
challenge of planning and saving for retirement. The survey found that
financial stress is keeping three out of four non-retired Americans (75
percent) up at night. The leading cause of sleepless nights for most
non-retirees (34 percent) is supporting children and saving for college,
while retirement is a top concern for only 13 percent.
Among non-retirees, women (61 percent) are significantly more
concerned than men (52 percent) that they may never save enough for
One quarter of non-retired men report they are not at all concerned
with the prospect of not having enough to retire, and employed men
tend to save a higher percentage of their income for retirement than
women (an estimated 7.2 percent vs. 5.6 percent, respectively).
Non-retired Americans ages 45-64 are more likely to be concerned
they’ll never save enough for retirement (at 63 percent), while
younger generations (ages 18-34) are less likely (at 52 percent).
The Road to Retirement: Perception versus Reality
Working Americans indicate they know they aren’t saving as much for
retirement as they should, with nearly a quarter of employed adults (24
percent) not actively contributing.
On average, employed Americans believe they should be saving roughly
12.1 percent of their income for retirement – this is nearly double
the estimated 6.4 percent of their income that is currently being
The majority (58 percent) of non-retired Americans are planning to
retire by age 65, but 57 percent are concerned they’ll never save
enough, with 41 percent believing they are saving less than the
average person their age.
Employed Americans ages 35-64 are significantly more inclined to
believe they should be saving more than 10 percent of their income for
retirement compared to younger adults ages 18-34 (57 percent vs. 41
Among employed adults, the average percentage of their income saved for
retirement increases with household income, ranging from an estimated
3.7 percent (less than $35K) to 10.4 percent ($100K or more). When asked
how much the average 45-year-old person needs to save to retire at age
65 and have an after-tax income of $50,000 a year, slightly more than
half of non-retirees said less than $1 million is needed.
“When determining how much to save for retirement, there are a number of
questions to ask and options to consider. For starters, it’s important
to understand your time horizon, risk tolerance and goals – do you plan
to move, would you like to travel, or take up new hobbies? You should
also prepare for unexpected and rising costs, like healthcare,” said
Greenshields. “Retirement looks very different for different people, and
it’s important to enter that phase of life with eyes wide open.”
Despite struggles to prioritize saving for retirement, non-retired
Americans are becoming increasingly more confident when it comes to
making investment decisions, with 31 percent primarily trusting
themselves and 28 percent trusting financial advisors.
Among those who are not retired:
Men are significantly more likely than women to trust themselves the
most for financial advice (36 percent vs. 25 percent, respectively),
while women are more inclined to trust their financial advisor or
broker (33 percent, vs. 23 percent of men).
Differences also emerge among age groups, with 18-34 year olds being
most trusting of family members (43 percent), and those 65 and older
most trusting of themselves (53 percent).
Financial advisers or brokers are more likely to be a trusted source
of advice among 35-64 year olds (34 percent) as opposed to 18-34 year
olds (21 percent).
Only 12 percent of respondents age 65 or older trust advisers over
Among non-retirees, the following demographic subgroups are
significantly more likely to say they are “very comfortable” discussing
Men (47 percent) vs. women (37 percent)
Adults ages 35-44 (54 percent), vs. 18-34 year olds (35 percent) and
those 45 and older (41 percent)
College graduates (52 percent), vs. those with less education (38
“As more Americans take their retirement plans into their own hands,
ShareBuilder is committed to providing tools and education to help them
become smart self-directed investors,” said Greenshields. “Our platform
is designed for those looking to be proactive and take control of their
financial well-being in the most accessible and convenient way possible.”
ShareBuilder offers a range of tools including RetireMyWay
plus a variety of straightforward education available in its KnowledgeCenter,
all designed to help Americans get on the path to retirement. For more
information, visit www.sharebuilder.com.
The findings reported in this release are from a telephone survey
conducted by the market research firm ORC International (ORC). The
survey was sponsored by Capital One ShareBuilder and conducted via ORC’s
CARAVAN Telephone Omnibus Survey. ORC completed 1,008 landline and cell
phone interviews with US resident adults age 18 and older from February
13-16, 2014. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3
percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Sampling for this
study was conducted using two national probability samples, one for the
landline and one for the cell phone. All interviews were conducted using
a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Data were weighted to
United States Census Bureau statistics.
About Capital One ShareBuilder
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investors who have long-term financial goals and want to say goodbye to
investing complexity. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting
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