36% Of Americans Don't Have Any Retirement Savings

36% Of Americans Don't Have Any Retirement Savings

According to a recent TIPP Poll, more than a third of Americans are unprepared for retirement.

Raghavan Mayur
Raghavan Mayur

More than a third of the population remaining unprepared for retirement could have long term implications for the job sector, and the economy as a whole.  

A TIPP Poll on the topic of retirement conducted in April reveals that

  • 36% don't have any savings earmarked for retirement.
  • 38% plan to work after the age of 65.

The proportion of Americans without retirement savings is 61 percent for households earning less than $30K, and it decreases as income rises.  The demographic groups with the highest proportions of people without retirement savings are:

  • 61% for under $30K households
  • 55% for high school educated
  • 51% for those living in rural areas
  • 50% for single women
  • 50% for blacks

The table below shows the percentage of households that do not have retirement savings for various demographics.

Types of Retirement Savings

When asked about the types of retirement savings people have

  • 37% said qualified retirement accounts such as 401K or IRA,
  • 14% mentioned cash-value life insurance,
  • 14% said annuities,
  • 13% had real estate investments,
  • 13% cited taxable or private investments,
  • 23% opted for other savings, and
  • 36% - none.

According to the Investment Company Institute, the amount of money invested in 401(k)s increased to $6.7 trillion at the end of 2020, up from $6.2 trillion the previous year, even though the number of active participants, estimated to be around 60 million Americans, has not increased since 2017.

Retirement Age

With little or no savings earmarked for retirement, a significant portion of the population cannot afford to retire.  Over a third (38%) plan to work after 65. 45% don't intend to, and 15% were not sure.

Counterintuitive, over four out of ten (42%) of those with retirement savings plan to work after 65, compared to 29 percent of those without any retirement savings.

Interestingly, as shown in the chart below, there is no association between income and intention to retire at 65.  For many, considerations other than money may be driving their decisions.


Extending one's retirement age has both benefits and drawbacks.

On the plus side, the workforce can benefit from these individuals' extensive experience.  They are likely to delay their reliance on retirement programs such as social security because they are employed after 65.  They continue to contribute to society.  We occasionally hear of retired professionals such as healthcare workers, police officers, and security personnel being called back to work to fill critical vacancies.  

On the negative side, they may stifle workers' upward mobility and, as a result, reduce the intake of new talent.

The federal government is looking for ways to encourage lower-income and middle-class Americans to use tax-advantaged accounts.  Many lower- and middle-income families are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of education, housing, and other necessities.  Even though the programs may encourage retirement savings, many find it challenging to save for retirement.

Most Americans from the previous generations had a lifetime job with the same company, where employers provided pensions and assisted employees with their retirement needs. Such a model is uncommon nowadays.  The fundamental employer-employee relationship has transformed dramatically.  The country requires new programs that can adapt to changing conditions and ensure that all workers are cared for once they retire.

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TIPP Takes

Moscow Looks To Expand Role In Mideast Peace Process

  • Official Russian statements on the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas indicate Moscow is looking for a larger diplomatic role.
  • Russian Foreign Minister restated Moscow's wish to host Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas expressed a willingness to accept Russian mediation.
  • Russia's power aspirations in the Middle East and diasporic links in Israel have shaped its mediation efforts.
  • As the Syrian civil war winds down, Russia has tried to reinforce its standing as a great power in the MENA region through diplomatic assertiveness in other theaters such as Libya, the Persian Gulf, and Israel-Palestine.
  • Within Russian analyst circles, there is growing optimism about US-Russia cooperation on advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Children Tell Of Neglect, Filth And Fear In U.S. Asylum Camps

  • The U.S. has a vast system of detention sites scattered across the country, holding more than 20,000 migrant children. In a special investigation, the BBC has uncovered allegations of cold temperatures, sickness, neglect, lice, and filth, through a series of interviews with children and staff.
  • Over March and April, more than 36,000 children crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied by an adult. This was a record high for recent years.
  • Many children traveling alone set out on their journey hoping to reunite with a parent already in the U.S. More than 80% of them already have a family member in the country, the U.S. government says.
  • Conditions in the detention centers are less than desirable. Some girls in a facility run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Donna, Texas, were able to shower once a week, but others said they did not shower for several weeks at a time.
  • With children eating and sleeping in close quarters, the cubicles quickly became rancid. At night, the children said, the tents were filled with the sounds of crying.
  • In the past few weeks, the authorities have moved about 3,000 children out of the Border Patrol facility in Donna, transporting many to a new network of child detention centers around the country run by HHS.
  • There are at least 13 such facilities, known as Emergency Intake Sites, on military bases, convention centers, or arenas in major U.S. cities. These are a new part of a network of 200 detention centers for migrant children spread across 22 states.

E.U. Leaders Agree More Sanctions On Belarus Over Plane Diversion

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (Associated Press)
  • European Union leaders agreed to impose more sanctions on Belarus, including economic ones, called on their airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace, and authorized work to ban Belarusian airlines from European skies and airports.
  • Meeting in Brussels, the 27 national leaders of the bloc demanded an immediate release of dissident Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega, and an investigation by the International Organization for Civilian Aviation into the incident during which Belarus forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk.
  • They expressed solidarity with their peer Latvia after it said it was expelling the Belarusian ambassador and all diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to Minsk, which had told the Baltic state's envoy to leave.

Suu Kyi Defiant In First Comments Since Coup

  • Detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi voiced defiance in her first public comments since being held in a coup, vowing her ousted political party would "exist as long as the people exist."
  • The Nobel laureate - who had not been seen in public since the coup - sounded "healthy and fully confident" during the 30-minute meeting, her lawyer Min Min Soe said
  • "She wishes her people to stay healthy as well as affirmed the NLD will exist as long as people exist because it was founded for people," she added.
  • Suu Kyi had faced weeks of delays to her legal case, and her lawyers had struggled to gain access to their client. The next hearing was set for June 7.
  • A group of ousted lawmakers - many of them previously part of the NLD - have formed a shadow "National Unity Government" in an attempt to undermine the junta.
  • The military has declared the group would be classified as "terrorists."

Yuan Longping, One Of China's Greatest Heroes, Is Dead At 90. Here's HowHe Saved Millions Of People During The Country's Deadly Famine Crisis In The 1960s.

  • In 1973, Longping developed the world's first high-yield hybrid rice strain, which produced 20% more rice per acre than non-hybrid varieties. That means his innovations helped feed an extra 70 million people per year.
  • The backstory: China suffered a disastrous famine in the early 1960s as a result of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward plan to collectivize agriculture.
  • Yuan said his experiences of seeing people starving to death led him to research rice, which serves as the primary grain for half the world's population.
  • Yuan's breakthroughs turned him into a national hero in China. He crisscrossed the globe introducing his rice hybrids to farmers in lower-income nations.


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