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To support the launch of their joint campaign - Saving for Retirement - AARP and the Ad Council fielded a retirement attitudes survey to 1,500 adults ages 40-59. 

spinner image A middle aged man consults two women.

Key findings include:

  • Respondents have consumer-savvy skills.  Ninety-two percent have used various money-saving strategies including comparison shopping (68%), clipping coupons (63%), or signing up for a customer rewards program (61%).

  • Nearly all (97%) had accomplished a significant financial goal, including buying a car (91%), buying a home (76%), paying off significant debt such as a student loan or mortgage (72%), or saving for a family vacation (67%).

  • However, workplace-based retirement savings strategies are not widely used.  Only two commonly-recommended strategies were employed by more than half of respondents – avoiding taking a loan from their retirement plan (58%) and using automatic deduction to contribute to their employer-sponsored plan (54%).  Less frequently, respondents contribute enough to receive the highest company match (44%), annually increase contributions to retirement plan by even 1% (27%), put even a portion of a bonus or additional income into their retirement plan (27%), roll over an old employer-sponsored plan into another retirement plan (24%), and make catch-up contributions to their retirement plan (14%). 

  • Only half are even somewhat confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years.  Only 14% are very confident. 

  • Nearly half (45%) would rather make an appointment with the dentist than make an appointment to see a financial advisor.  Forty percent would rather save for a vacation than their retirement. 

  • Increasing confidence in saving for retirement can impact other areas.  If they felt more confident in their retirement savings, respondents said they would also feel less stressed (54%), more financially empowered (54%), happier knowing that they are taking care of their family’s future (46%), more confident in tackling other goals or challenges (38%), better emotionally and physically (36%), happier in personal relationships (26%), and able to sleep better at night (26%). 

This survey was fielded June 2-4, 2017 via GfK’s Knowledge Panel, a probability-based online survey panel representing the US adult population.  Respondents were ages 40-59, had household incomes of $40,000-$99,999, and were not retired.  For additional information about the survey, please contact Rebecca Perron at Members of the media should contact AARP Media Relations at For more information about the AARP and Ad Council Saving for Retirement campaign, please visit