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Poll: Not saving is OK

By Marcie Geffner ·
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

U.S. consumers know they should save for retirement, but "should save" doesn't always translate into "do save," according to a new telephone survey of 2,000 adults.

Almost 90 percent of survey respondents agreed with a statement that people should start saving for retirement when they begin their first job and continue to save as long as they continue to work.

But only 28 percent of the respondents disavowed any excuse for not saving. The rest said children, household bills, unemployment and other life events got in the way of saving at some point during their working years. Thirty-three percent said it was okay to defer retirement savings to pay for these and other needs.

People in their 50s were much more likely than those in their 20s to agree with the necessity of career-long savings. Older women, in particular, were more likely than men to say they'd wished they'd started to save for retirement at a younger age. The majority wished they'd started saving in their 20s.

Other findings:

• 43 percent of 20-somethings have checked their credit score.

• 42 percent have read about financial planning.

• 32 percent currently contribute to a retirement plan.

• 21 percent say paying off student loans is a higher priority than saving for retirement.

• Only 19 percent have an emergency fund.

• 49 percent of 50-somethings have purchased term life insurance.

• 48 percent have written a will.

• Only 46 percent believe they're saving enough for retirement.

The finding were based on two national surveys, conducted by TNS on behalf of ING Direct, a national online bank headquartered in Wilmington, Del. The first survey was conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 4, 2011. The second was conducted Sept. 7 through Sept. 11, 2011.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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