Setting a Retirement Savings Goal

Most Americans think they should save more than they do

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Most Americans aren’t savings as much for retirement as they think they should. The most common amount to save in a 401(k) is between 1 and 9 percent of pay, according to a recent Charles Schwab and Kelton Research survey. But while 40 percent of workers say they are tucking away that amount from each paycheck, only 24 percent of employees think that is the ideal amount to save for retirement.

[See Calculating Your Retirement Needs.]

Most workers think they should be saving 10 percent of their salary (29 percent) or between 11 and 24 percent of pay (25 percent), the survey found. But that savings goal is much more difficult to accomplish with just 14 and 18 percent of the survey respondents claiming to be contributing that much to a 401(k).

[See How to Tell if You Are Saving Enough for Retirement.]

A few survey participants (13 percent) set the ambitious savings goal of saving a quarter or more of their pay, but only about 5 percent of investors are actually able to put aside that much. And while 20 percent of those with access to a 401(k) are saving nothing for retirement, only 3 percent think that is a good idea.