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Americans are letting procrastination control their retirement plans.
According to a recent study, 45 percent of non-retired Americans are not saving for retirement. Of those who are not yet saving, only 36 percent plan to do so in the future and almost 10 percent say they never plan to save for retirement.
The study, by financial services firm Edward Jones, also found significant discrepancies by age among those who have not yet started saving. Although they plan to do so in the future, the majority (58 percent) of the study's youngest non-retired respondents (18 to 34 years of age) have not yet started saving.
The study, which interviewed more than 1,000 non-retired and retired Americans, found an interesting disconnect between the expectations Americans have about their retirement savings strategies and reality.
To that point, of respondents ages 18 to 35, 90 percent say they either have started saving for retirement, or plan to start, before turning 30, and just 7 percent of that group plan to start saving for retirement in their 40s. Meanwhile, when looking at respondents ages 35 to 44, only 64 percent actually began saving in their 30s or earlier.
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"When it comes to retirement savings, there's a big difference between planning to save and actually doing so," said Scott Thoma, principal and investment strategist for Edward Jones. "While intentions to save for retirement are legitimate, individuals tend to satisfy more immediate, short-term spending goals and push off their long-term saving goals."
Just 22 percent of overall respondents indicated that they plan to or actually began saving between the ages of 40 and 50. However, when examining the plans vs. reality among respondents ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, this percentage jumped to 3 percent and 30 percent, respectively, indicating that intentions tend to fall short.
A recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute makes the point that waiting until you're older and making more money to start saving for retirement could be a bad call.
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People are constantly making mistakes with their retirement savings at all stages of life, according to EBRI. From student loans to the cost of having kids, people find excuses of not having enough to save for retirement.
But the end result of putting off saving will be very costly. To that point, 40 percent of baby boomers and Generation X risk running out of money in retirement, according to the EBRI report.