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Saving for Retirement

Saving for Retirement: How Do You Stack Up?

A new poll conducted by Kiplinger and Personal Capital reveals Americans are serious about preparing for retirement. See how your savings -- and confidence level -- measure up.

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Editor's Note: This is an expanded version of the How Americans Are Saving article that appears in the February 2019 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

Americans are generally upbeat about their progress toward saving for retirement, as well as their prospects for a comfortable retirement. Most are stashing a respectable chunk of their income in savings and getting financial advice. But health costs both before and after retirement are a concern.

Those are some of the conclusions from a new poll conducted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, in partnership with the financial firm Personal Capital. We surveyed a national sampling of investors between the ages of 35 and 64, equally divided between men and women, who had made at least one investment transaction in the past year. The poll was conducted in November 2018.

Income and assets for the respondents track national averages for U.S. retirement savers. The median household income is $93,760, and the median household net worth (excluding primary residence) is $420,860. The market value of their primary residence is $297,040. About half say they will collect a pension in retirement. (Note: Figures are medians unless otherwise indicated.) See how your efforts to save for retirement compare:


Employed full time (35 or more hours per week): 74%

Married: 66%

Own their own home: 89%

Median market value of primary residence: $297,040

Median approximate value of equity in primary residence: $219,640

Median household net worth excluding primary residence: $420,860

Median household income: $93,760

SEE ALSO: Kiplinger's Net Worth Calculator

Retirement Savings

How much survey respondents have saved varies by household income.

How much have you saved for retirement?

Overall: $327,090

Respondents with income more than $100,000: $670,810

Respondents with income less than $100,000: $180,200

How much do you anticipate needing in retirement?

Overall: $909,000

Respondents with household income more than $100,000: $1.5 million

Respondents with household income less than $100,000: $648,000

What percentage of your annual income are you currently saving for retirement?

Overall: 13.3%

Respondents with household income more than $100,000: 16%

Respondents with household income less than $100,000: 11%

How much do you contribute to your workplace retirement plan each year (including employer matches)?

Overall: $11,910

Respondents with household income more than $100,000: $17,710

Respondents with household income less than $100,000: $8,240

Retirement expectations — and a reality check

Median age at which respondents expect to retire: 64.7

Median age at which respondents expect to collect Social Security: 66.8

Median percentage of income respondents are currently saving for retirement: 13.3%

Median amount of money currently saved for retirement by respondents: $327,090

Median amount savers think they will need in retirement: $909,420

Types of retirement savings

Workplace plan: 73%

Traditional IRA: 56%

Roth IRA: 42%

Annuity: 20%

Self-employment: 10%

Other: 29%

Contributions to retirement savings

Percentage of respondents who contribute the maximum amount allowed by law to a workplace retirement plan: 51%

Median amount contributed to workplace plan each year: $11,910

Median amount contributed to traditional IRA each year: $3,170

Median amount contributed to Roth IRA each year: $4,600

Median amount contributed to self-employment plan each year: $13,670

Median amount contributed to variable or fixed annuity: $91,960

Do you have a health savings account (HSA)?

Percentage of respondents who have an HSA: 36%

Median amount contributed by respondents to an HSA each year: $3,070

Financial Planning

73% of respondents have a long-term financial plan, and 61% have worked with a financial planner.

Where do you get your financial guidance?

Broker: 21%

Money manager: 19%

Commission-based planner: 16%

Fee-only planner: 13%

Friend/family member: 13%

Insurance agent: 10%

Automated advice (robo adviser): 5%

Other: 4%

Expected income in retirement

Percentage of respondents who expect to receive a pension: 50%

Of those who will receive a pension, percentage who expect to take it as an annuity (9% lump sum; 25% not sure): 66%

Median amount respondents expect to collect from a pension annuity each month: $2,190

Median amount respondents expect to collect from lump-sum pension distribution: $125,000

Top 5 expected sources of income in retirement: Social Security; investments; IRA; workplace plan; pension

Median expected percentage of income from Social Security: 30%

Planned Financial Moves in Retirement

Percentage of respondents who would consider purchasing an immediate annuity during retirement: 25%

Percentage of respondents who currently have long-term-care insurance: 23%

Of those who do not have long-term-care insurance, the percentage of respondents who would consider purchasing it in the future: 30%

Percentage of respondents who expect to pay off their mortgage by the time they retire: 72%

Percentage of respondents who would consider acquiring a reverse mortgage when eligible: 15%

Percentage of respondents who plan for how they will withdraw money during retirement: 49%

Percentage of respondents who use online retirement planning tools or calculators: 26%

Retirement Confidence

How confident are you that you have saved or will save enough to retire comfortably?

Very or somewhat confident: 65%

Neither confident nor unconfident: 16%

Somewhat or very unconfident: 20%

How confident are you that Social Security will provide the income you expect?

Very or somewhat confident: 54%

Neither confident nor unconfident: 24%

Somewhat or very unconfident: 22%

If you don’t think you’ll save enough, what’s preventing you from saving as much as you would like for retirement?

High health insurance and medical costs: 28%

Disappointing investment performance: 24%

I am digging out of debt other than student loans: 15%

I’m also saving for college: 7%

I’m also saving for a home: 6%

I’m making student-loan payments: 5%

Other: 14%

Retirement Living

Top 4 reasons for considering relocating: lower taxes, lower cost of living, warmer climate, to be near family

Top 4 reasons for continuing to work: extra income, feel useful, save more for retirement, stay connected to work colleagues

Top 5 things respondents are most looking forward to in retirement: time to travel, ability to slow down and relax, a more flexible schedule, more time with family, more time for recreation

Top 5 worries about retirement: high health care bills, not having enough money to live comfortably, running out of money when I’m older, not being able to travel, not getting a regular paycheck

Top 3 things they expect to spend more on in retirement: travel, medical care, visiting family

Top 3 things they expect to spend less on: housing, gifts, eating out

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement