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Zero. That's how much 28% of the country has saved for retirement.

By Jessica Hall

Nothing. That's not much to fall back on in retirement.

As many as 28% of Americans have nothing saved for their retirement, 39% aren't contributing to a retirement fund and another 30% don't think they'll ever be able to retire. That's according to a new GoBankingRates survey.

Between 25% and 35% of all demographics between the ages of 18 and 64 years old report having nothing saved for retirement, the survey said.

How much is needed for a secure retirement varies by person and situation, of course. But a study from Northwestern Mutual in 2022 found that U.S. adults anticipate they will need $1.25 million to retire comfortably, while a 2023 Schroders survey put the figure at about $1.1 million.

GoBankingRates, meanwhile, found that a quarter of the 1,000 people surveyed think they can retire with less than $500,000. Another quarter believes it will take somewhere between half a million and a million dollars, while another 30% expect their retirement to cost higher in the seven figure-range.

So why aren't people saving for retirement? Some don't have access to retirement-savings plans, although participation is low even when the accounts are available: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 69% of private industry workers have access to an employer-based retirement plan but only 52% participate.

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Other obstacles include inflation, debt, as well as low financial literacy, starting saving too late, being inconsistent in making contributions, and spending on wants without seeing saving for retirement as a need, GoBankingRates said.

The study revealed that the youngest generation of adults, Generation Z, is actually getting an early jump on retirement savings. As many as 16% of 18- to 24-year-olds put 4% to 6% of their income in a tax-advantaged retirement account, more than any other demographic, GoBankingRates found. Generation Z is those born between 1997 and 2013.

Despite the overall retirement-savings shortfall, nearly one quarter of respondents (23%) think they'll be able to retire early. Roughly another quarter (24%) anticipate retiring by 65, which is still earlier than the full retirement age of 67 for people born in 1960 or later, according to the Social Security Administration. As of 2022, the average retirement age was 61.5 years old, according to a Gallup survey.

-Jessica Hall

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03-16-24 1713ET

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