Retirement Reality Check: 1 in 10 of Us Aren't Saving at All

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By Kate Appleton

For many Americans, lack of savings is making even the thought of retirement feel increasingly stressful.

A survey examined the state of our nest eggs -- and found that 1 in 10 working Americans haven't contributed to retirement funds at all in this year or last.

"That data point is a trouble spot," admits Greg McBride, chief financial analyst. "It's the highest it's been in polls we've done and does dilute the good news we saw in other areas."

The limited availability of employer-sponsored 401(k)s and unfamiliarity with alternatives like IRAs are two possible obstacles. Stagnant incomes, McBride adds, continue to hold back saving rates.

In the race to retirement, millennials (aged 18 to 29) are at the back of the pack, with those survey respondents least likely to be contributing to 401(k)s or IRAs.

Sure, their golden years are a long way off, but millennials are missing out big by delaying. Financial pros like to say that time is your greatest ally in saving for retirement because of the power of compound growth.

As for that good news? It turns out that 19 percent of Americans are socking away more this year than last, while only 14 percent are falling behind. (About half are holding steady.)

"We've never seen a gap that big in favor of those saving more -- it's a reversal over the past few years that's consistent with greater job stability," he points out. "And it suggests recognition that retirement savings won't happen if you don't do it."

The pressure's increasingly on you, the future retiree, and maybe that's a reason why the overall sense of financial security declined, especially among women surveyed.

There isn't necessarily a quick fix to get yourself into that 19 percent power group of savers. But you can watch out for these common retirement mistakes as you shore up your nest egg.
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