Americans Are Saving Too Little for Retirement

THE good news is most Americans are saving for retirement at an earlier age; the bad news is that they may not be saving enough.

These are the findings of a public opinion survey released last month by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a nonprofit public policy research institute in Washington and the Gallup Organization Inc., a polling group in Princeton, N.J.

The median age at which Americans say they began to save for their retirement is 30 years old, the survey finds, and nonretired Americans say $150,000 is the median amount they need to save by the time they retire. The survey shows that $2,500 was the median amount of money nonretired Americans saved last year for retirement.

``All of the media attention and emphasis that's been placed on the need to save for retirement at an earlier age has begun to have an impact on younger Americans,'' says EBRI spokeswoman Carolyn Piucci Pemberton. ``Maybe now [Americans] need to focus a little more on the amount of money they need to save.''

Today, $150,000 in savings can purchase a monthly annuity for life of $1,060 at age 62 and $1,134 at age 65, Ms. Pemberton says. But when you take into account such factors as inflation, she says, that money may not go as far in the future.

Those with higher salaries say they started saving for retirement earlier. For those earning less than $20,000 a year, the median age was 44; for those earning between $20,000 and $75,000, the median age was 30; and for those earning $75,000 and higher, the median age was 29.

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