Americans are trying to save despite having many other competing financial interests, according to a survey by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).
CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney notes, “An inability to start saving early, debt and stagnant incomes are just a few of the factors driving Americans’ financial anxiety.”
Nearly half (48%) of respondents say they “don’t always have enough money left over to save after bills.” More than one-third (35%) have seen a significant decrease in household income, and 34% say debt prevents them from saving.
In addition, 30% of respondents have experienced a job change in the past three years, and 20% have experienced a major medical expenditure.
Fifty-one percent believe credit card debt is the most important debt to pay off, followed by mortgages (36%) and student loan debt (19%).
About half (51%) save money regularly on a monthly basis, and more than one-third (36%) of respondents anticipate working in retirement. Only 35% utilize the services of a financial professional.
The survey includes a segmentation analysis that focuses on respondents’ propensity to save regularly and their general feelings toward money. The analysis found that Americans fall into four distinct categories:
Concerned Strivers – 27% of respondents
- Concerned Strivers have high incomes, but still struggle to make ends meet due to financial demands, including mortgage debt, credit card debt and college payments.
- Nearly all place a high importance on saving, but are concerned with their ability to save.
- About half save money on a regular basis.
- Nearly seven-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan.
Confident Savers – 22% of respondents
- Confident Savers began saving for retirement around 25 years old.
- Saving money is a top priority and they save money regularly on a monthly basis.
- They feel confident about their financial future and retirement savings goals, and feel well prepared to make investment decisions.
- Nearly eight-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored savings plan.
Tentative Savers – 24% of respondents
- Tentative Savers skew older than Concerned Strivers, but have similar levels of income.
- Almost eight-in-10 save regularly on a monthly basis, but are still concerned about their ability to save.
- Nearly two-thirds are not confident they are saving enough for retirement.
- Seven-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
Stretched Worriers – 26% of respondents
- Stretched Worriers are most likely to report being anxious about their financial futures.
- They have been saving for retirement since age 35, on average.
- This is the only segment where staying current on bills is a higher priority than saving.
- Four-in-10 have access to an employer-sponsored savings plan.