Americans Struggle with Savings

Data from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll reveals many Americans are falling behind on key retirement savings goals.

More than four in 10 (42%) who reached for the poll said they have fallen behind on either 401(k) or IRA contribution goals. Half said they are struggling to make planned stock market investments. 

Other results from the poll show Americans are most likely to turn to friends or family members for information on managing their personal finances. Nearly half (47%) said they seek “informal” advice during financial planning, while just one in three (33%) turn to a professional financial adviser.

The remainder is divided among those seeking advice from a banker (24%) and the 17% turning to a credit union.

Americans’ overall confidence in their own financial abilities remains strong. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) said they are confident they understand information about important financial decisions. Americans are also highly confident they have the information needed to buy a home (77%), plan their retirement (75%) and set up an inheritance (64%).

“Despite the headwinds we continue to face, the resilience of the American people is alive and well,” says Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president of marketing, innovation and corporate relations for Allstate. “It is this American trait and tradition of individual responsibility—more specifically, the ability to control one’s financial decisions and destiny—that makes this country unique and continues to be the foundation of our culture, political and financial system.”

Though a majority of Americans (58%) believe participating in the financial system is the safest and most reliable way to provide a secure retirement, a substantial percentage (35%) worry the system is too volatile, complicated and unreliable to generate secure income.

Americans also believe the economy is still struggling with the effects of the 2008-09 financial crisis, with more than half (53%) saying the U.S. “remains in the grips of a recession.” Not surprisingly, just 11% of those surveyed think the economy is in “excellent” or “good” shape. Forty-five percent think the economy is in “fair” shape, and 44% think it is in “poor” shape.

For more results from this quarter’s survey, and to view previous survey results, readers can visit