About half of the survey respondents said they are currently in the labor force. Of that group, 32 were Gen Z, 399 were millennials, 337 were Gen X, and 217 were baby boomers. For every generation, saving for retirement seems to be a pain point.
Looking at the respondents as a whole, a majority of those with a job (60%) have gotten a raise in the last several months to a year. And yet, 42% of that group said they still aren’t saving for retirement at all.
According to the survey, exactly half of Gen Xers — defined as ages 39 to 54 this year — don’t have a retirement savings account, such as a 401(k) or IRA. That’s only slightly less than the share of millennial respondents who don’t have one (54%), although at ages 23 to 38, they have at least two additional decades to save before reaching retirement age.
What’s more, the same share of Gen Xers and millennials (13%) have a retirement account but aren’t actively contributing to it. Most blame low income for their lack of savings. And yet, among Americans of all generations who have a retirement account but don’t contribute to it, 34% have increased their income in the past year and 20% did a year ago.
It’s easy to get carried away by a bigger paycheck and raise your standard of living as more money comes in — experts call this “lifestyle creep.” But data shows millennials, especially, are buckling under huge amounts of debt. Any increase in income may be going toward paying those balances off.
Still, financial planners say pay raises are the perfect opportunity to boost contributions to retirement accounts, especially if your workplace plan offers an employer match that you’re not maxing out yet. The money is taken out of your pretax paycheck, so the sooner you do it, the less you’ll feel a sting, if at all.
Once you’ve paid off high-interest debt, have a plan to pay back lower interest debt, and are building an emergency fund, continually bumping your retirement savings rate by the same percentage each time you get a raise can make a huge difference in the long run.