Americans Know They're Not Saving Enough

Americans have no trouble admitting they are lackluster savers, but that doesn’t seem to motivate them to stock away more of their income, a new survey found.

A news release from the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project said three-quarters of respondents confessed they were not saving enough—an admission the survey found across the demographic spectrum. Nearly seven out of 10 adults who identify themselves as upper or upper-middle class said they aren’t saving enough, a belief shared by slightly larger proportions of middle class (75%) and lower class Americans (82%).

However, the Pew researchers said the confessions were not enough to motivate action: Americans now save less than 1% of their incomes on average and the savings rate has been in almost continuous decline for more than two decades.

Sixty-one percent of Americans with family incomes of $150,000 or more said they aren’t saving enough. Among those earning between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, the proportion soars to 79%.

Minority Savers

Minorities are somewhat more likely than whites to say they aren’t saving enough, according to Pew.

Blacks in particular say they should be saving more (84%), compared with whites (74%) or Hispanics (78%)—a relationship that persists even after differences in income are taken into account. For example, 84% of blacks with family incomes of less than $50,000 say they don’t save enough, compared with 77% of whites and 80% of Hispanics in the same income range.

Senior Citizen Savers

Senior citizens appear to be doing the best of anyone at saving. Only a narrow majority (54%) of those ages 65 and older say they aren’t saving enough, while more than a third (36%) of seniors says they are saving enough. It may be because seniors generally have lower living expenses than do younger adults, Pew contended.
One other demographic group that does relatively well on saving is college graduates. Three-in-ten (31%) say they save enough, compared with 19% of those with just a high school degree.

The telephone survey covered 2,413 adults and was conducted from January 24 through February 19.

More information is available here.