The steady drumbeat of experts warning Americans to save more for retirement might finally have gotten loud enough. Although stalled incomes are still preventing many from increasing their retirement contributions, a new survey by Bankrate.com shows good news emerging. More Americans are saving more money each year than they did the year before. The trend appears to be part of a larger attitude and lifestyle shift toward living smaller and saving more.
Can the results of this survey convince you to adopt this healthy financial mind-set? To prioritize your financial goals over your material wants and join the growing crowd of savers who continue to find ways to sock away a little bit more than they did last year?
After seven years, a pattern emerges. The survey, which polled more than 2,000 employed Americans, has been running annually since 2011. This year marks the fourth straight that a higher percentage of people surveyed reported adding more to their retirement contributions than they did the year prior. A full 28% said they saved more this year than last in 2018, which is an increase from 23% in 2017, 21% in 2016, 19% in 2015 and 18% in 2013 (the question wasn’t posed in 2014). When the question was first asked in 2011, only 15% said yes, about half as many as today.
There’s good news on the other side of the equation, too. The number of people saving less year-over-year fell by more than half since the survey began. Just 13% of respondents reported saving less for retirement this year than last, down from 29% who reported saving less at the genesis of the poll in 2011.
Older millennials lead the way. Younger savers ages 28 to 37 were the most likely to report saving more in 2018 than in 2017—39% of them did exactly that. For younger millennials and Gen Xers, about one-quarter each increased their retirement contributions. Older respondents—baby boomers and the Silent Generation—tended to save about the same amount year over year.
Most people didn’t make any changes. Although the poll revealed good news both in the form of more people saving more and fewer people saving less, the largest percentage of respondents by far—about half—reported saving the same amount for retirement this year as they did last year. About one-quarter cited stagnant income as the reason for the lack of savings growth. About one in five said they’re not boosting their savings because they’re comfortable with their retirement funds.