43% have less than $10k for retirement

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter


NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- The percentage of American workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third straight year, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The percentage of workers who said they have less than $10,000 in savings grew to 43% in 2010, from 39% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual Retirement Confidence Survey. That excludes the value of primary homes and defined-benefit pension plans.

How would you describe your retirement savings plan?
  • Pretty good
  • Need to do more
  • Haven't thought about it
  • Already retired
CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.40%
$10K MMA 0.36%
6 month CD 0.39%
1 yr CD 0.70%
5 yr CD 1.50%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Workers who said they had less than $1,000 jumped to 27%, from 20% in 2009.

Confidence in ability to save enough for a comfortable retirement hovered at 16% of respondents, the second lowest point in the 20-year history of the survey.

A drop in the bucket

"Americans' attitudes toward retirement have clearly tracked the economy the last couple of years, and that seems to be the case in 2010," said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI's research director and co-author of the survey, in a statement.

The percentage of workers who said they have saved for retirement fell to 69%, from 75% in 2009.

While VanDerhei attributed the decline in current savings rates to job losses, mortgage problems and the suspension of corporate 401(k) matches in 2009, he said the economy isn't entirely to blame.

"In previous years, there were a whole lot of people who had nothing to begin with," said VanDerhei.

The gap between what Americans have saved and what they'd need for retirement is forcing workers to prolong their working years.

According to the survey, 24% of workers said they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year, up from 14% in 2008.

But even as fears over health care costs and job prospects mount, the survey found that only 46% of workers have tried to calculate what they need for a comfortable standard of living in their golden years.

"People just don't want to think about this," said VanDerhei. "Everybody thinks they're too young to think about it, until suddenly they're too old to do anything about it."

In general, financial planners say that retirement savings, including Social Security benefits and pension, should be large enough to provide about 80% of pre-retirement income.

To reach that target, "most Americans need to be saving within the healthy range of 6% - 10% (of their salary)," said Beth McHugh, vice president of workplace investing for Fidelity Investments.

But the survey found that 54% of the workers with some form of savings said that they have less than $25,000 stowed away.

Delaying retirement, though not ideal, is a good sign that people are finally facing reality.

"People have figured out that they don't have enough money," VanDerhei said. "Still, I'd rather they bite the bullet today, rather than take the chance that they'd have a job when they are 65."

The EBRI surveyed 1,153 U.S. workers and retirees, age 25 and older, in January. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 7:03am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

Retired union workers could see their pensions cut under a controversial new law, but many say they're not sure how they'll make ends meet if big cuts go through. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.