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6 in 10 Americans Aren’t Saving For Retirement: Here's How To Get Started

If you are among the people who don't have a retirement account, it's better to get started sooner than later.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

Editor's note: This story was originally published on June 14, 2023 and has since been updated.

While a lot us believe in saving and actually keep aside funds for exigencies, only a few Americans can actually afford a $1000 emergency. According to a recent survey by the Harris Poll for NerdWallet, about 89% of adults save on a regular basis. However, 6 out of 10 Americans don't have a retirement-specific account, per the survey.

It added that 155.6 million Americans — 60% of them — don’t have a retirement-specific account, according to the survey of 2,035 adults from March 30 to April 3, 2023. 

If you are among the people who don't have a retirement account then it's better to get started soon. But where to begin? There are immense possibilities in the world of investing and it can often get overwhelming for people just starting out. However, putting away your money is not ideal in this day and age.

Here are some key findings of the survey.



The average savings is nearly $1000 per month. The survey found that Americans who regularly save, set aside an average of $985 every month. 

Saving for emergencies is the most-cited savings goal. More than half of Americans, which is around 53%, regularly save for emergency purposes. However, it was concluded that around 45% of Americans would be able to cover a $1000 emergency expense without relying on a credit card or loan. 

Let's look at the things to keep in mind when it comes to saving.

Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

The pandemic was a fresh reminder that unprecedented situations are inevitable. You sure don't want to go into debt or dip into your retirement account in case of emergencies, which also result in penalties in some cases. Financial advisors will tell you how it is absolutely crucial to save, keeping emergencies in mind. If the whole concept of saving money sounds daunting, it's always a good idea to start small. 

These accounts are only available to those who have opted for high-deductible health insurance of at least $1500 for self-only coverage and $3000 for the entire family. If you are eligible for a health savings account it's always recommended that you get one.

Setting Up A Workplace Account

Pexels | Pixabay
Pexels | Pixabay

If your employer matches up to a certain percentage, you can also contribute to a retirement account, such as a 401(k). According to Kevin Brady, a CFP and VP president at Wealthspire Advisors in New York City, "It truly is free money," as per CNBC.

Building Your 401(k) or IRA

"A 401(k) is the best place to save tax-efficiently because you can save the most — up to $30,000 annually for those with a catch-up," says Amy Miller, a CFP and senior vice president at Wealthspire Advisors in West Hartford, Connecticut, as per CNBC. In some cases, investing in an individual retirement account just like 401(k)s IRA also carries similar tax advantages. Unlike the 401(k) you will have to open an IRA by yourself through an online brokerage and use it to buy investments, including stocks, bonds, and low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

Keep a Part in a taxable brokerage account

Source: Ian/ Waldie /Staff
Getty Images | Ian Waldie 

If you have invested in all the above areas, you can now stash the rest in a regular brokerage account. 

"If at this point you can still save even more, then a non-qualified brokerage account invested in low-cost, tax-efficient ETFs or index funds is going to be the right choice for most people," says Brandon Gibson, a CFP and founder of Gibson Wealth Management in Dallas, Texas.