WINDSOR, Conn., April 5, 2007 — For an estimated 44 million U.S. employees, paying the bills, keeping up with the high cost of medical care and lack of an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan are some of the main reasons they are not saving for retirement, according to a report from LIMRA International.
"These are largely low to middle-income earners, working full-time, who are struggling financially," said Sally Bryck, co-author of Non-savers: Why Aren't They Saving for Retirement? "They want to save, they know they need to save, but they really need help."
"Americans have a huge appetite for costly consumer goods, but that's not necessarily the problem for many people," said Kathleen Rook, co-author. "In fact, we estimate that about four in 10 non-savers have cut their discretionary spending to make ends meet and still find it hard to save."
With the U.S. savings rate currently at a 70-year low, LIMRA re-examined data from a comprehensive 2005 study on employee benefits. LIMRA surveyed 2,000 employees to investigate their attitudes toward employee benefits in general, and the retirement plans offered by their employers.
Size of employer, availability of an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan, and level of education were also important factors. Six in 10 non-savers work at small companies of fewer than 100 employees. Some 55 percent don't have access to a retirement savings plan at work, and 80 percent of non-savers have a high-school education or lower.
"We should not be too quick to assume that people don't know or care about saving for retirement," Bryck said. "Nearly six in 10 non-savers said they are extremely concerned about having enough money for their retirements, and about the same number are worried about the future of Social Security."
Non-savers often have health insurance and other benefits offered through their employers — 71 percent said health insurance was available. Eight in 10 use the health/medical benefit when offered, often sacrificing in other areas to cover the benefits. But fewer than half of non-savers' employers offer a defined contribution plan.
When asked how much of their income they think they should be saving for retirement, 97 percent of non-savers said at least 10 percent, and one-third believed they should be saving 20 percent. Asked about expected sources of retirement income, 87 percent said Social Security, 37 percent said employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, 25 percent said personal savings and 18 percent said employer pension plans. Fourteen percent said the lottery.
About LIMRA International
LIMRA International is a worldwide association providing research, consulting, and other services to nearly 850 insurance and financial services companies in more than 60 countries. LIMRA was established in 1916 to help its member companies maximize their marketing effectiveness.