Just over a third (34 percent) of Americans have no retirement savings, up from 30 percent in 2009, according to a new Harris Poll of 2,151 adults.
Young people are the least likely to be saving for retirement. Over half (53 percent) of members of generation Y between ages 18 and 33 say they have no nest egg. But nearly a third (32 percent) of generation Xers between ages 34 and 45 and a quarter of baby boomers age 46 to 64 also say they have nothing tucked away for retirement.
Plenty of retirees have already used up their retirement savings or never had any to begin with. Some 22 percent of those age 65 and older say they have none of their retirement savings left, Harris found. These people are completely dependent on Social Security and family members.
Previous research has found that similarly large numbers of Americans are not saving for retirement. An Employee Benefit Research Institute survey conducted in early 2010 determined that 29 percent of workers have not saved any money for retirement. Most of these employees (79 percent) say they simply cannot afford to save for the future. However, a few people have other reasons for failing to build a nest egg including having other savings priorities (6 percent), not getting around to it (5 percent), thinking they have plenty of time to save (4 percent), being uninformed about retirement planning (3 percent), and retirement seeming too far away to plan for (2 percent).
While the majority of Americans are tucking something away for retirement, most people who are building a nest egg haven’t accumulated very much. More than half (54 percent) of workers report they have less than $25,000 in savings and investments, EBRI found. And over a quarter (27 percent) of retirement savers have accumulated less than $1,000.
These numbers only get slightly better for workers closer to retirement. A 2010 Wells Fargo survey of 1,756 middle class households earning less than $100,000 annually found that workers in their 50s have a median of $29,000 saved for retirement and people in their 60s have just $30,000. Some 42 percent of individuals age 45 and older have less than $25,000 saved for retirement, EBRI found. Only 11 percent of all current workers say they have $250,000 or more saved for retirement.