NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

In a Reversal, Fewer Americans Save for Retirement

May 10, 2001

A new survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and others finds that fewer Americans are saving for retirement -- and fewer have calculated how much money they need to save. An EBRI executive says the report represents the first reversal in behavior and attitudes in the past six years.

  • This year, 71 percent of survey participants said they were saving money for retirement -- down from 75 percent in 2000.
  • Some 63 percent said they were "very" or "somewhat" confident of their ability to have enough money to live comfortably in retirement -- a drop from 72 percent a year ago.
  • The proportion of workers who said they were "not at all confident" about having enough money later in life jumped to 17 percent from 10 percent.
  • The drop in confidence often relates to Medicare -- with 57 percent saying they aren't confident the program will continue to provide benefits equal to the value of current benefits.

When asked whether they had taken the time to calculate how much money they will need to save for retirement, only 39 percent said they had taken a stab at the math -- down from 51 percent last year.

Source: Glenn Ruffenach, "Fewer Americans Save for their Retirement," Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2001; "2001 Retirement Confidence Survey," May 10, 2001, Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2121 K Street, N.W., suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20037, (202) 659-0670.

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