Most Americans know they should be saving more, but few of them are actually making plans to do it.
Twenty-eight percent of workers have less than $1,000 in savings that could be applied toward their retirement, according to a new Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald and Associates survey. And of the pool of respondents—1,003 workers and 1,001 retirees interviewed by phone—57 percent say they have less than $25,000 in retirement savings. (Tweet This)
That may help explain why nearly six in 10 Americans (58 percent) believe their financial planning needs improvements and 21 percent are "not at all confident" they'll be able to reach their financial goals, according to separate data released this week from Northwestern Mutual's 2015 Planning & Progress Study.
While a majority have taken steps to address that, 34 percent said they have taken no action at all.
"Intending one thing and doing another is human, but it's an impulse we should all fight hard to resist," said Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning and sales at Northwestern Mutual, in a statement. "Intentions only get us so far. And when the stakes are high, it's taking action that's critical."
There's no question the stakes are high.
With health-care costs rising and lifespans increasing, retirement has become an increasingly expensive proposition.
According to the latest report by HealthView Services, which helps financial advisors forecast health-care costs for their clients, the average lifetime retirement health-care premium costs for a fit, hypothetical 65-year-old couple retiring this year is now $266,589, including Medicare parts B and D coverage as well as supplemental insurance. (The estimate assumes a life expectancy of 87 years for men, and 89 for women.)
Americans are also living longer after they stop working, which means their savings have to last longer. A man reaching age 65 in 1970 could expect to live 13 more years, but by 2011 that figure was 18 years. A woman's life expectancy at age 65 rose from 17 years in 1970 to 20 years in 2011 (the most recent year for which such data is available from the Centers for Disease Control).
Not surprisingly, a growing number of Americans are worried about running out of savings in retirement. Almost two-thirds of workers (64 percent) say they feel they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement, according to the EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey report.