Recession's killing retirement accounts, only half saving enough

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The long recession continues to sap Americans' bank accounts and pay checks, depressing savings and raising the dangerous specter that only half will be able to continue their standard of living in retirement, according to a new survey of consumers.

In the Consumer Federation of America's sixth annual survey released Monday, most Americans--65 percent--said they have enough "emergency" cash set aside to fix their car, but just 49 percent said that they are "saving enough for a retirement in which you will have a desirable standard of living."

Among the other findings: 43 percent are saving enough to meet their personal plans; 50 percent are saving in a 401k retirement or similar plan; less than half, 49 percent know their net worth; a majority of low-to-moderate households have no savings.

Worse, more Americans are saving less than last year. Just 30 percent said that they are saving more; 39 percent are saving less.

The prominent Washington-based group said that "only about half of Americans reported good savings habits."

The group suggested that the findings are scary for those nearing retirement and they announced a PR campaign called AmericaSavesWeek.org to promote savings.

"The recession still has not ended for millions of American families," said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the CFA. "Many working families are still suffering from high unemployment rates, stagnant incomes, and a housing market that is just beginning to recover."

How bad are American savings habits? Brobeck suggested that even saving "loose change" would boost the financial situation of Americans.