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AARP and Ad Council Saving for Retirement Campaign Survey

Middle Aged Man Consulting Two Women, AARP Research, Retirement Campaign Survey

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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. 

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 RPerron@aarp.org. Members of the media should contact AARP Media Relations at media@aarp.org. For more information about the AARP and Ad Council Saving for Retirement campaign, please visit AceYourRetirement.org.