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36 Retirement Saving Statistics: 2020/2021 Data, Insights & Trends

by Arthur Zuckerman

After decades of hard work, many professionals aspire to spend their golden years comfortably in retirement. Perhaps they want to go on their dream vacations with their loved ones or start ticking the remaining checkboxes in their bucket list. Regardless of what their plans are for the future, preparations are necessary for it to succeed; and one of them is to save for retirement. As such, we’ve prepared a series of retirement saving statistics for you.

In this article, we aim to show you relevant data and insights on this topic. This way, you can better understand how modern professionals are preparing for retirement and what are the most common ways for them to save up. We’ve also touched on the common roadblocks and emerging trends when it comes to saving up for retirement so you are kept abreast of what to look out for.

retirement saving statistics

General Retirement Saving Statistics

We’ve mentioned that pretty much everyone wants a comfortable retirement ahead of them. However, it seems that plenty of US workers are unable to meet their goals for savings before they retire. As such, it is important that one start saving up early as well as find other avenues through which they can secure their retirement funds.

To give you a better idea of how much of salary workers need to set aside to secure their future as well as the percentage of the population that’s actually prepared for retirement, take a look at these statistics:

  • About two-thirds of 40-year-olds have less than $100,000 retirement savings.
  • 1 in 5 of those in their seventies has less than $50,000 savings.
  • 75% of workers who receive a retirement plan offers are aware of their Roth 401(k) option.
  • In 2017, 10% of US workers had saved less than $5,000 in their household retirement accounts.
  • 59% of workers are saving for retirement outside of their work in a mutual fund, bank account, IRA, etc.
  • 57% of workers make saving for retirement one of their biggest priorities.
  • On average, employees have to save 16% of their income, starting at age 25 in order to have enough retirement funds at 67.
  • Only one-third of employees would have saved enough in order to comfortably retire by age 67.
  • 38% of male employees and 20% of female workers can save at least $250,000 in total household retirement accounts.

Retirement Savings of Americans

Retirement Savings of Americans
$0: 45.5%


Retirement Savings of Americans
Less than $10,000: 18.8%

Less than $10,000

Retirement Savings of Americans
$10k - $49,999: 12.3%

$10k - $49,999

Retirement Savings of Americans
$50k - $99,999: 7.2%

$50k - $99,999

Retirement Savings of Americans
$100k - $499,999: 12.3%

$100k - $499,999

Retirement Savings of Americans
$500k or more: 3.9%

$500k or more


Source: GOBankingRates, 2019

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Retirement Saving Plans Statistics

Retirement isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. While many think of it as a chance to pursue hobbies, they didn’t have time for previously or finally get the opportunity to travel; there are still many other expenses that one should consider for retirement. For starters, one needs to take into account daily living expenses as well as potential medical emergencies.

Luckily, there are now different ways to save for retirement funds, including self-funded savings, business plans, investments, bonds, and more. That said, workers now have more options than ever to secure a comfortable retirement and finally do things that they’ve always wanted to do. This gives people more options for securing a comfortable retirement plan. The collection of statistics below details some of the retirement saving plans that workers invest in.

  • 63% of workers in the US have some form of a retirement strategy. 16% have a written plan, 47% have a plan but are not written down, while 37% don’t have a strategy at all.
  • Retirement accounts like IRAs, 403(b)s, and 401(k)s are the primary source of retirement incomes of 41% of workers from large companies and 32% of small company employees.
  • US workers with retirement strategies consider many factors while planning. 58% of them consider Social Security and Medicare benefits. 54% take into account their ongoing living expenses, and 49% consider their total retirement savings and income needs.
  • 82% of workers cite self-funded savings as their primary source of retirement income. This includes IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), and other retirement accounts.
  • 74% of employees claim that social security will be their primary source of retirement income.
  • 53% of men and 61% of women dream of spending more time with their family and friends when they retire.
  • 71% of men and 69% of women workers cite traveling as their retirement dream.
  • 40% of workers from small and large companies capitalize on their retirement savings in an equal mix of investments and stocks. These include market funds, cash, and bonds.

Source: GOBankingRates, 2019

Data on Retirement Saving Challenges

Saving for retirement isn’t always as simple as docking an employee’s pay. That’s why some people’s retirement isn’t retirement at all since they’re still working. There are some problems that workers face when saving for their future. These include fear of outliving their savings and having to think of a backup plan in case things don’t go their way. More of these problems are outlined in the statistics provided below.

  • 1 in 5 US citizens (21%) do not have any retirement savings.
  • 24% of US citizens believe that it is “not at all likely” that Social Security will be available upon their retirement. 51% believe it is only “somewhat likely.”
  • 28% of workers have prepared a backup plan in case they retire earlier than anticipated.
  • 22% of workers who save for retirement aren’t sure about how to invest their savings.
  • 52% of those who save for retirement fear that they will outlive their investments or savings.
  • 44% of employees planning for their retirement are afraid of long-term care due to declining health as they age.
  • 48% of people saving for retirement fear that social security will either disappear or be reduced by the time they retire.
  • On average, Americans aged 55-64 were only able to save 12% of the amount they need for a secure retirement.

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Not making enough money: 45%

Not making enough money

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Struggling to pay bills: 24.4%

Struggling to pay bills

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Won't need retirement savings: 9.2%

Won't need retirement savings

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Job doesn't offer a plan: 7.6%

Job doesn't offer a plan

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Prioritizing paying a debt: 7.3%

Prioritizing paying a debt

Top Reasons Why Workers Don't Have Retirement Savings
Money was used for an emergency: 6.6%

Money was used for an emergency


Source: GOBankingRates, 2019

Created by

As time passes by, people’s lifestyles change, and along with it, the way people earn and spend their money. Thus, it’s only natural that the process of saving for a secure retired life also shifts to fit the flow. For now, here are some of the retirement saving trends that seem to stick in the present.

  • 33% of Baby Boomers only have $0 to $25,000 in their retirement savings.
  • In 2017, 62% of working Americans were confident that they would be able to retire and have a comfortable lifestyle.
  • 59% of US workers with a dream of traveling when they retire said they are “very” or “somewhat” confident that their financial strategy will enable them to meet their travel goals.
  • 40% of workers investing for retirement use professional advisors to help them manage their retirement investments or savings.
  • The top sources of information regarding retirement planning and investing are family and friends (33%), financial brokers/planners (28%), and retirement planning provider sites (23%).
  • 35% of people take a retirement plan loan to pay off a debt. This makes it the most common reason for taking such a loan.
  • Among the debt to pay off using a retirement plan loan, 24% is credit card debt.
  • 81% of workers believe that the retirement savings program of the company they’re planning to apply to is a significant factor in their job search.
  • The majority of workers, regardless of gender, save for retirement through plans sponsored by employers or other external works. However, more men do this compared to women, with 82% and 73% saving this way, respectively.
  • If employees escalate their retirement savings up to 10%, 17% more employees would be able to save more or less for their retirement needs.
  • 69% of men are confident about their retirement. This figure is lower for women, with only 54% of female workers thinking that they’re comfortable retirement plan is secured.

Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers That Don't Have Retirement Savings

Source: Money, 2019

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Saving for Retirement is a Good Idea

We’ve seen from the statistics above that 67 is the typical retirement age. This means that the post-career phase our lives can last for as long as a quarter of a century, maybe more. That’s a pretty long time enough to raise a person from birth to adulthood. The problem is that not all people actually save for this moment.

In fact, the data provided in this article suggests that a big portion of the population doesn’t have any retirement plan at all. This might not end well since social security benefits by themselves wouldn’t usually suffice to secure a comfortable retirement. That’s why it’s a good idea to save enough by maxing out contributions to IRAs or other employer-sponsored plans.

We hope that, with this compilation of statistics, you were able to get some ideas on how you’ll be preparing for retirement. Be it by saving up early on or applying for different retirement plans; these should help you enjoy your golden years with minimal financial problems.



  1. 1 In 3 Americans Have Less Than $5,000 In Retirement Savings
  2. Road to Retirement Survey
  3. Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies
  4. 2018 Retirement Income Adequacy Study
  5. A Compendium of Findings About American Workers
  6. Most Americans close to retirement have saved only 12% of what they need

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