Attitudes impact retirement savings

Workplace retirement plans have a considerable role to play in encouraging individuals to save more. Workplace retirement plans have a considerable role to play in encouraging individuals to save more.

How Americans feel about saving for retirement affects their actions and success as savers.

That is one of the key findings of BlackRock's annual Retirement Survey, released Friday. The research reveals that the most successful retirement savers have certain psychological and emotional attitudes related to saving that drive them to put more money away for retirement, compared to savers who don’t share similar attitudes.

The survey also shows that defined contribution (DC) workplace retirement plans have a considerable role to play in building savings insights that encourages individuals to save more.

“When workers feel empowered, confident and positive about the retirement savings process, they will actually save more for retirement than workers who don’t feel that way,” says Chip Castille, managing director and head of BlackRock’s U.S. & Canada Defined Contribution Group.

Among poll respondents that agreed “you can save for retirement and meet daily expenses at the same time,” 46 percent are saving at the highest level (11 percent or more of annual household income). But among those disagreeing with the statement, just 17 percent are matching that saving level.

About two-thirds of those polled by BlackRock saved just 10 percent or less of household pay in 2012; 28 percent saved only 5 percent or less. Seven in 10 individuals saving for retirement say their focus on this effort has increased over the past five years. Still, fewer than one in four are confident about having enough money for retired life.

BRG’s analysis shows that empowerment, confidence and positive attitudes about retirement savings are not merely “associated” with a high level of retirement savings (defined as saving 11 percent or more of annual household income), but have a direct, “causal” impact on how much money individuals are saving.

Among the other attributes of highly effective savers the report identifies:

  • Among those who agree that “once I figure out what I want my retirement to look like, I will start saving more,” just 28 percent are saving 11 percent or more. But among those indicating they have already “figured out” their retirement picture, 39 percent are classed as highly effective savers.
  • Among respondents who agree that “the only people I know who have a good retirement lifestyle made significantly more money than I am making,” just 24 percent are saving at a highly effective level compared with 48 percent of those who disagree with the statement.
  • Among those who agree that “I want to save and invest more but I just don't know whom I can trust for unbiased advice,” just 30 percent are saving at a highly effective level. Among those indicating they have someone they trust for unbiased advice, 40 percent are highly effective savers.
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