The majority of Americans don't feel very good about the amount of money they are putting away for retirement, according to a recent survey released by TD Ameritrade.
About 57 percent of those surveyed said that they are either "a little" (36 percent) or "far" behind (21 percent) financially in terms of preparing for retirement.
When asked why they are behind in their retirement savings, 56 percent of the respondents said they have little or no money left for savings after meeting their regular expenses, and 56 percent of the respondents also said they started saving for retirement later in life.
"Saving for retirement clearly remains a pain point for many investors," said Diane Young, director of retirement and goal planning at TD Ameritrade.
According to Young, some consumers are clearly struggling with their present expenses, so it makes it difficult to plan for the future.
"I think the recession has forced people to hunker down and focus on their day-to-day needs," Young said.
As part of this retrenching, many consumers looked to reduce their credit card debt and repair their personal balance sheets. Consumers have been making some progress in that area, at least if the latest reports from credit card companies are the judge. Credit card delinquencies fell for the fourth straight month in April, according to the latest reports from major credit card issuers.
While cleaning up debt is important, consumers should not stick to a linear approach, Young said. It's not necessary to completely clean-up debt before saving money for retirement.
Young also suggested consumers make sure they are taking full advantage of any employer match they are eligible for; that they increase their 401(k) allocation for bonus payments; take a portion of any salary increase and dedicate to savings; and start an automatic investment plan to make sure money is directly sent to savings each pay period.
The survey was conducted by Infogroup in late February by polling more than 1,000 adults over the telephone.
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