Save More Money—Unless You're Retired

Retirees and young adults could learn from each other's financial habits.

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This morning, the Consumer Federation of America and Wachovia released a joint survey on saving. They report that just over half of Americans say they are not saving enough. That's no big surprise—Americans are known for our spend-happy ways.

The good news, though, is that over half of respondents said they could cover unexpected expenses like car repairs or emergency dental work. Among those who said they were not saving enough, over one third said impulse buys and credit cards were at least partly to blame. And young people between the ages of 18 and 24 were most likely to say they should be saving more.

On the other end of the spectrum, AARP also released a savings survey today, but its findings were quite the opposite. According to a joint survey by the AARP and the American Council of Life Insurers, retirees may not be spending enough.

In fact, 3 out of 4 respondents said they were either building or maintaining their savings and investment principal, which AARP says suggests seniors may be being overly miserly. The organization says that seniors may want to consider using their money to make life more enjoyable, instead of building up a nest egg they may never spend. The survey, which focused on retirees between the ages of 50 and 75 with assets of at least $50,000 (excluding homes), found that people at the rate of only 1 in 4 allowed themselves to "dip into principal" over the past year.

It sounds like retirees could teach young adults a lesson or two—and perhaps vice versa.