Non-Savers Struggling with Financial Stress
According to recent research from Schwab Retirement Plan Services, “non-savers,” defined as those not actively contributing to their 401(k), feel more challenged by day-to-day financial stress than “savers,” those who are contributing to a 401(k).
The study, which surveyed 1,000 people with access to a 401(k), also found non-savers are struggling with credit card debt, probably because they are having a tough time keeping up with their day-to-day expenses. The survey found:
- 42% of non-savers have difficulty keeping up with monthly expenses, compared to 20% of savers.
- Nearly half (45%) of non-savers say they have no money left or are behind on bills at the end of each month, compared to 23% of savers.
Because of the struggle to make ends meet, non-savers have a much bleaker view of their financial health than savers. When asked if they were in pretty good or very good shape financially, 85% of savers said yes compared to just 64% of non-savers.
These immediate financial concerns are also preventing non-savers from creating a retirement nest egg. Non-savers cited the need to pay basic monthly bills (46%), paying off credit card debt (42%), covering unexpected expenses (34%) and paying medical bills (33%) as reasons that they cannot save for retirement.
Savers had similar concerns, but in smaller numbers, and as a group, they do not seem to be as plagued by credit card debt. Retirement obstacles for savers include unexpected expenses (36%), monthly bills (31%), an unwillingness to sacrifice perks that add to their quality of life (29%) and credit card debt (29%).
Non-savers understand that debt is preventing them from saving. When asked how they would have handled things differently in the past, 26% said they would have accumulated less debt.
“Americans have many legitimate and immediate financial concerns preventing them from setting aside funds for retirement. The good news is that both 401(k)-savers and non-savers understand they are responsible for their own retirement, and some may just need a little guidance to help them take steps in the right direction,” said Steve Anderson, president of Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. “In many cases, their employers stand ready to help, often through workplace financial wellness programs, with resources and tools that enable them to formulate strategies to meet their current obligations while still keeping an eye on the future.”