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Survey: Nearly Half Of American Workers Have Saved Less Than $10,000 For Retirement

March 12, 2010 by  

Survey: Nearly half of American workers have saved less than $10,000 for retirementThe percentage of American workers who said they have minimal retirement savings grew for the third consecutive year, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) annual Retirement Confidence Survey released on Tuesday.

In 2010, a total of 43 percent of the workforce reported that they have less than $10,000 in their savings account, up from 39 percent in 2009, according to CNN Money. Respondents who said that they had less than $1,000 also rose, jumping from 20 percent last year to 27 percent in the current survey.

Furthermore, the percentage of workers who said that they were confident in their ability to save enough money to comfortably retire fell to 16 percent, the second lowest rating in the 20-year history of the reports.

"People just don’t want to think about [saving for retirement]," said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI’s research director and co-author of the survey. "Everybody thinks they’re too young to think about it, until suddenly they’re too old to do anything about it."

VanDerhei noted that the national decline of savings is attributable to mortgage problems, job losses and the suspension of many company-matched 401(k) programs in 2009.
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  • ONTIME

    Much of the time there is no retirement program, wages and output of income won’t allow one to save or in some cases savings are wiped out for various reasons. SS is not a retirement all by itself and it is a supplement and to many think of it as their ultimate retirement.

    Government workers are overpaid, over perked to many in number and double dip in a lot of cases, some are allowed to decide if they will draw SS. The private sector, the ones that produce a product and supply the government with a income, has no choice. On one hand there is the fat and happy retiree and on the other those who will never have the opportunity to retire because of income problems. Retirement is a indivdual responsibility, you work to decide what kind of retirement you want, the tools are there and if possible make sure you take advantage of them.

    • Laura C

      Humm…double dipping. I have 22 “qualified years” years in social security (some years getting started I did not qualify as minimum income to count). After 27 years as a business person, I answered the call for teachers so now I am a gvt employee. So, I will be 67 by the time I am eligible for 1k a month from teachers retirement, but social security is going to reduce my social security to 700 a month to punish me for becoming a teacher. I must be a double dipping fat cat gvt employee!!! Actually, I have scrimped and saved for 20 years to have a recent retirement and put my kids though college with no gvt dole and I really don’t feel too sorry for those who have spent every penny thay made. Hope thier kids take good care of them in their old age (LOL)

  • Robin from Arcadia, IN

    The IRS needs an overhaul. If those who are getting hand outs would have to pay a fair tax on consumables, a lot of the money woes would be solved. The extreme rich know all the loopholes and ways to get out of paying taxes. It is only the middle class that keeps our government afloat. There would be money enough for the Social Security program if everyone had to pay a fair tax.

    • Warrior

      As long as we keep voting self serving yahoos into office there will never be enough.

    • Conservative Carl

      From website american.com is the fact that the top wage earners pay over 90% of taxes. The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shoul­dered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per­cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent—those below the median income level—now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. These are proportions of the income tax alone and don’t include payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
      If Personal Liberty News allows me to post this you will see that despite the socialist politicians’ propaganda the “super wealthy” pay a huge amount of taxes.

      • Norm

        10/18/2009
        US wealth distribution: 10% of US citizens own 70.9% of all US assets.
        Top 1% own 38.1%.
        And it gets much uglier as you proceed downward. Bottom 40% of population has 0.2% of all wealth.

        I think the ultra rich untitled royality (multi million $/year crowd) can easily afford a little more taxation. 15% on unlimited capital gains is a little light.

        • Conservative Carl

          Norm, while you would prefer to tax the “rich” at 50% to 75% of their income you don’t realize that most of those “rich” employ vast numbers of people. As you increase taxation on them they can cut expenses in their businesses by cutting labor costs. Who does this help? The government has already heavily taxed businesses and owners and you cry for more taxes. BLEED THEM TO DEATH! OK, then they take their businesses to Taiwan, China, Philippines, or other business friendly places.
          It seems not enough to some that those people pay the bulk of the taxes. No, they must pay 99% of it. Why the hatred for those who have more than you or me?
          Even if the top wage earners paid an extra few percent it wouldn’t be enough. The government knows well how to spend above its means and they’d still want more from the rest of us. GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM; GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM. (Ronald Reagan) The bigger the government gets the more intrusive in our lives it gets and the more of our income it takes.
          Obama, Harry, and Nancy are getting just what they want: jealousy and hatred for businesses and high wage earners.

          • s c

            Carl, don’t mind Normy. He’s a hardcore ultraliberal progressive, and you’ll NEVER get him to understand the difference between A SALARY and an ASSET (private property, etc.). It’s this chronic mental myopia that keeps progressives from having both feet in the real world (and proves that they prefer feelings and emotions over thinking).
            Ask Normy, and he’ll be quick to tell you that the overnight redistribution of America’s wealth (via Comrade Obummer) will make life “beautiful.”

          • Norm

            Conservative Carl

            Below is a list of top tax bracks over the years.

            http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php

            Two points:
            1)Rates for the highest brackets were above 50% from the 50′s thru the 80′s. They were above 90% in the 50′s when Ike was president. As I recall, these years were some of America’s finast.
            2)The current max rate is 35% and it kicks in at $311,950. This is high for the low end of the bracket and low for the high end. I think that a 50% bracket, with a few steps in between perhaps, would be appropriate for incomes above $1,000,000. I would also keep inheritance taxes in place and keep a fairly low exemption, maybe $5 million.

          • DaveH

            Ah, the Politics of Envy. Isn’t it wonderful? It did so much for the USSR, China, and Cuba.

            I guess making the top 1% of wage earners pay 40% of the income taxes isn’t enough for comrade Norm:
            http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

            Jealousy, one of the seven deadly sins.

          • Joe H.

            Carl,
            norm wants the rich to pay much more but ask him to pay a little bit more and watch how he howls!!!! He’s a typical jealous brat!!!!

        • DaveH

          So Many Ignorant Liberals, So little Time.

          • Norm

            DaveH
            Swear alligence to the master and maybe he’ll let you shine his shoes at the minimum wage.

          • DaveH

            That’s just it, Norm, you and your fellow Liberals are heading us toward tyranny, where we will become subservient to the dictators.

      • JJ

        Have you ever wondered why the super rich need billions in the form of personal assets . I would suggest a ceiling on personal wealth of a billion and annual income of a billion . Any assets /earning over that have to be set aside in a private trust run by the billionares for the benifit of the general public.Rationale -The billionare are in the current position because they charge too much for their products and services.

        • Joe H.

          JJ
          Wealth envy???? who are you or anybody else to tell a person how much they can accumulate?? go to the socialist countries that do this and live there. you’ll be very happy, I guarantee!! wink, wink!!!

    • steve

      if the gov would have locked up the ss funds and stop allowing non citizens benefits there would be a surplus of social security amd medicaid.

      • Joe H.

        Amen Brother. Can I get an amen????

  • http://gmail i41

    Duh, when the stock market tanked, so did your retirement. Several people have thought they were going to retire in a year or two, suddenly they are having to work for a few more years. Now with Oidoit and his progressive pus brained Congress rubber stamping his socalist dream land spending, either learn to like lawn grass and tree bark for food or hope the heck we recover and become a producer of goods again.

  • http://www.DownsizeCa.org JKeyes

    How can you save money when you are being taxed into oblivion??
    How can you save money when you are unemployed?
    Hello!!!

  • http://www.bobandgail.us Gail

    I agree with James graham !! They vote themselves perks as if they are royalty

  • Warrior

    It’s probably all those stupid people in private industry.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Prepper-in-chief

    What does it matter how much one has saved? Looks like Obama’s trying to ruin the economy ala Cloward and Piven, so one day, the fiat dollar will probably be worth nothing. Better to use most of those dollars now to put away some long-shelf-life food for the upcoming ugliness.

  • s c

    Why is anyone surprised at this? Between taxes and and generations of elected ‘leaders’ who take care of themselves first, this is a logical development.
    Couple that with generations of Americans who are dumb enough to believe that government will always ‘be there’ to take care of us [perhaps the biggest LIE of all time], this is proof that our “leaders”
    will say and do ANYTHING to get and keep us as STUPID as possible.
    It works, folks. Look around. They still lie to us.
    They still expect us to think they care. We have ‘people’ in the White House and in Congress who know from experience that power trumps good intentions. And, as long as they say things that sound and feel good, we’re like sheep on the way to the slaughterhouse.

  • Conservative Carl

    We saved a good amount of money to supplement Social Insecurity but, as prices continue to increase, that money continues to decline in value. Because of having some IRA income in addition to Social Security we pay taxes on the IRA income plus a portion of Social Security. This is because the liberal socialists (Democrats mostly) in congress thought we needed to pay more taxes and that was voted in over a decade ago.

    We must face the reality that the government in power now will have to increase taxes even more to try paying back the Trillions of $$$ they have needlessly loaned/given to UAW to keep producing cars in Detroit, plus the needless continuing bailouts of Wall Street and Fannie and Freddie. Add in the MILLIONS the government gives to Planned Parenthood which helps them build abortion mills like the super one in Houston for mass killing.

    The objective seems to be to get us all totally dependent on the government from birth to grave. The ID card for Americans are coming, not for illegals, but for AMERICANS!

  • Conservative Tim

    So the solution to the job problems is to pass more spending? Health care, crap & trade, illegals, bail outs, extended benefits…where will it end. More taxes & requirements on business and you expect they will hire more people??? Get real! But what solutions do you expect from one who never had a job, or met a payroll. More people out of work so the working ones need to pay more taxes, causes job loses. More loses, less workers having to pay higher taxes. And so it goes. Will the last worker please shut off the lights on their way out.

    So where does the savings for retirement come from? Guess we can all save nothing and expect the feds to take care of us. Won’t be long before they use means testing for ss. If you have anything saved, cut -eliminate- your ss. Sorry about all that money you sent in over the years, but we have to take care of all the ones who didn’t save.

  • http://www.personalliberty.com/news/pediatric-patients-with-chronic-pain-look-to-acupuncture-19609231/ James A Graham

    As a retired military man that have given over twenty-seven years of my life to my country, I truly feel that what this
    Country needs most is a new amendment to the Constitution . I am recommending that we add the 28th amendment to the Constitution of the UNITED STATES.

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that Congress members could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn’t pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered…in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

    This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come, Jim.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Congressman, Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Congressman. Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States”.

    HTCM USN Retired James A. Graham E-Mail address is ( jagraham@charter.net ) Please forward !!!!!!!

  • JeffH

    The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party.

    http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=2881

  • Mohut

    I guess I’d like to know the distribution on the savings. I’m not surprised that a 20-year old hasn’t saved much, but I’d be shocked to learn that any significant percentage of 55+ year olds haven’t saved a LOT more than $10K. My wife and I fall into that category and we are a far cry from what you’d call wealthy. But, we’ve saved HARD for the last 30 years or so for retirement. With the state that our economy is in and social security is in, Lord help us if a bunch of my fellow baby boomers hit retirement without any appreciable savings.

  • earlw

    Conservative Tim:
    I believe the SS system was created to provide a “safety net” for those unfortunate enough, for whatever reason,such as a family disaster,etc. to not have a retirement fund set aside. As such it wasn’t a bad idea. It has, however become a retirement program for the poor. If the Government hadn’t STOLEN the funds to offset the budget deficit for quite a number of years now, it WOULD actually be solvent. I for one think there is nothing wrong with a means test, since we all contributed based on the fact that person COULD be one of us… Having said that, I think that if the US hadn’t been involved in constant warfare, which is a HUGE DRAIN on the treasury, this nation would not be in the present condition. Then there is the issue of the repeal of the Glass-Steagle act, which allows the kinds of bank skulduggery that has put the industry in the shape its in. If one researches, one finds that that happened under a Democratic presidency (Clinton) We all like to point fingers, but WE ultimately are supposed to watch what the criminals in Washington are doing….

  • s c

    EarlW, Americans were supposed to believe that Soc Sec was supposed to “help.” In a country where leaders actually did their job (and citizens kept a short leash on those pathetic weasels), Soc Sec would be a completely different matter than it is. It should have beem left alone. It should be solvent, but it ISN’T.
    Soc Sec has been used – obviously – as a generational SLUSH FUND for the exclusive use of those who have no business destroying it. It took a LONG TIME for people to start to have doubts about those ‘leaders.’ Now that we have a world-clsss LOSER in the White House (and hundreds of like-minded human trash in Congress), Americas can see through the charade.
    The solution is [may I have the envelope, please?] NO CAREER POLITICIANS.

  • rasfanta

    This is the fallicy of capitalism. On the one hand they implore you to spend, spend, spend and out of the other side of the mouth they say Americans don’t save enough. The banking institution provides no incentive to save. The pennies earned on savings is disgraceful. This capitalistic economy is a cruel joke played on the American people and I cannot believe we allowed this to happen. Most of congress needs to be thrown out of office but oh yes, I forgot, the supreme court just passed legislation that will ensure corporations remain in control of this country and not the people; so it doesn’t matter who is in office, we are screwed.

  • Charolette Ragsdale

    I think the baby boomers who will soon be retiring will be in for a rude awakening. Maybe the next generation after them can learn a very valuable lesson from the baby boomers. People will die of poverty if they do not start saving now because we all know how screwed up social security is and will not have enough funds by the time the future generations retire. The problem is the government is using this money to fund their other what they call necessary programs in Washington. It is all about greed people. So, I suggest everyone look out for themselves in the end. Also, there has been talk about Obama taking over the 401K and IRAs that Americans have set up and will promise to send you a check each month. Beware everyone who voted this crook and inexperienced man into the WH.

  • DaveH

    I hope, Mohut, that you are protecting those savings from the coming inflation.

  • s c

    Charolette, whether we like it or not, we are the sons and daughters of what some call ‘the greatest generation.’ Yes, there is a hard lesson coming in healthcare. BUT, never forget that what that really means is that with the exception of the dregs of our society [politicians and their many 'friends'], EVERYONE will learn the same, damned lesson.
    Politicians see themselves as better than and distanced from the rest of us. How is this possible? It wasn’t hard. All it took was a few generations of indifferent, lazy, pc-infatuated fair weather airheads and useful idiots, and here we are.
    Odds are that every coming generation will feel the crunch of the insanity called government healthcare. It amounts to generational servitude. It was aided and abetted by taxation without representation. One of the major culprits is a strong belief in political parties. The Founding Fathers told us not to do it. They warned us. Did we listen? Did we have a short leash on our elected SCUM? How often did we YANK that leash? You could say we are about to get what we earned.
    WHEN will our elected SCUM will get what they TRULY deserve?

  • DaveH

    Perhaps one of the greatest problems with Socialism is that people lay back and quit taking care of themselves with the mistaken belief that Government will take care of them. Giving people something for nothing sure doesn’t make people work harder. And taking more money from the producers is likely to make them work less. This of course creates less productivity which results in higher prices or scarcity of desired goods and services.
    Socialism just doesn’t work! We can see it in history. It isn’t hard to figure out why it doesn’t work, with just a little bit of thinking and studying.
    Big Government is the Problem, Not the Solution!
    Vote Libertarian:
    http://libertarianparty.org/platform

  • s c

    Rasfanta, PLEASE don’t look down your nose at or join Obummer’s “let’s dump on capitalism” fan club. When capitalism is left alone [not manipulated by people like Obummer, George Soros, a Congress full of useful idiots, prostituted Wall Street or campus geniuses who don't know squat about economics], capitalism is probably the best economic system ever developed by humans.
    What we’re seeing now is the finger-pointing aspect of a system that has been allowed to fester and infect itself, compliments of losers like Obummer and his many anti-capitalism ‘friends.’
    By the way, socialism didn’t make America great. Communism didn’t make America great. Fascism didn’t make America great. And people like Obummer have NO chance to make or keep America great.

  • Joe H.

    rasfanta,
    You want higher interest on your savings?? It comes with a price. you want to refinance your house or finance a new car??your interest rate is going to be higher!!!! One goes up the other goes up. the first goes down the other goes down!!!! you are not going to get rich off of a mere savings!!!

  • Joe H.

    DaveH,
    What are these people going to do when the producers get tired of supporting the non-producers and just quit???? You know, along the lines of I’m tired of it and I’m going to let the government take care of ME for a change??? Who would take care of the lazy good for nothings that just plain don’t want to work then???

  • Diocletian

    To Carl and other envy-eaten mentalities who believe in expropriating more and more from the “rich” so that the loot may be redistributed to them to whom the money doesn’t rightfully belong, I say that you need an education about the fact that rich people have the same individual right to every dollar of income that they’ve earned or have rightfully inherited as each of you has to your own income or inheritance, regardless of the amount. Since 1913 the government has had the destructive power (a power that the Founders of this country never wanted the government to have)to forcibly take a citizens income or other property from him/her via coercive taxation. As a consequence, the government has grown to its present gargantuan size along with the steady development of a envious, resentful, parasitic, entitlement mentality toward other peoples’ lives and property. The government’s proper role in a free and civilized society (such as what the Founders envisioned to establish)is to act as a guardian and protector of citizens’ individual rights to their own lives, liberty, private preoperty, and pursuit of their own happiness by maintaining the police, the military, and the law courts; it is not to act as everyone’s caretaker from cradle to grave by providing “safety nets” like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment checks, and all other welfare programs, or loans, grants, subsidies or bailouts at everyone’s forced expense. When the government forcibly took people’s earnings from them so as to provide all with a “safety net”, it took from people their own money with which to choose to build their own “safety net” according to their own personal plans. Right from the start the government put Social Security taxes (and later Medicare taxes)into the General Fund(this was inevitable, given the free-wheeling propensity of the government to spend), turning Social Security into a massive Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker. Social Security from the start created a disincentive to save (resulting in Americans being among the worst savers in the world) and prevented people(via coercive SS and Medicare taxes)from having more of their own incomes available to assume responsibility for saving and investing for their retirement. This disincentive to be self-reliant and independent is what all welfare schemes and government financial “aid” produce, with the result that one is encouraged to develop a child-like dependent mentality toward the government, and what–or whom–the governnment pays for or supports, it controls. THAT is the real-world price of the In-Loco-Parentis State, a condition of existence where all feed on all, and all are subsidized, in whole or in part, and and therefore owned by the government. Bringing us further toward that end has been the result of policies and laws enacted by both Democrats and Republicans for many decades. Of the many good books that would offer you all an opportunity to get a sound education about government, and economics (especially Capitalism, and the reality of Socialism), I recommend “Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics” by George Reisman. If you still insist on being hostile toward Capitalism after having read this book carefully, I suggest you read “The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality” by Ludwig von Mises, and do not be surprised if you see yourself in it. For a fascinating study about the history and psychology of envy, I recommend (especially to you, Carl), “Envy” by Helmut Schoek. Think, check your premises, and learn to fend for yourselves. You have your lives and liberty to regain.

  • Joe H.

    DaveH,
    I bought my first Gold in 1976 and every time I had a few extra bucks I bought more. Bought my first silver coin in 1998 and haven’t looked back. If it comes down to it I’m set.

  • Joe H.

    sc,
    you are right. reminds me of the old days of the colonel!! you remember those people. they were dirt poor or had never served a day in service but because for years people had called them colonel they were somehow better!!! What a joke!!!

  • Ray

    S.C. If you were to do some historical research you will find that corporate america has been running america for quite some time. If capitalism is so great why hasn’t the health industry found a cure for cancer or heart disease or an alternate to oil. These are just a few examples of what capitalism has not solved.

    Why hasn’t they solved problems like cancer or heart disease. Because there is no money in a cure. The money is in managing the problem. This way they fleece the american public and get rich in the process. But I’m sure to you that’s fair – right.

    Congress has been brought and paid for by corporate america. Even if we vote them out the next congress coming in will be servants of corporate america also.

  • Ray

    S.C. Social security was created out of response to the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1933. It was part of the Roosvelt ” New Deal” plan. Also during this time was the Investment Act of 1940 was created to separate commercial bank from investment bank which led to the downfall. This work until 1999 when the Glass-Steagal act was repealed. This led to giant banks like Citigroup and the rest of Wall street to engage in the same reckless behaviour that led to the 1929 depression.

    The SS system was a good idea until congress kept tweaking it. Actually the SS fund was working well up until the mid 1970″s before President Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard and the USD has no backing. If you around then perhaps you can remember the high inflation in the late 1970′s and the 1980′s. In addition the US treasury started taking money to fund thier other programs. Now it’s just a big ponzi scheme.

    In summary even those of us who makes the sracrifice to save we still don’t know if we will be able to retire. There are more economic storms that are brewing right now that will slow the present economic recovery – like commercial real estate – increased oil and commodities prices.

  • http://www.bobandgail.us Gail

    I read about the government absorbing the 401 K’s years ago!! Sure looks like it could become a reality. Time to prepare and implement a plan B !!!!

  • ficoguy

    As part of the deficit reduction plan, the government is going to propose a 1% net worth tax on all IRAs and pensions of more than $ 50,000. The total all Americans have socked away in non-traditional pensions is about $ 15 TRILLION. A 1% “temporary” surtax would bring in about $ 150 billion – not enough to wipe out the deficit but certainly enough to make a dent in it.

  • curious

    So, do you work for the government?

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