CNBC: Only 17% of adults see retirement savings as a financial priority

Survey respondents have other financial priorities, including non-retirement savings and paying down existing debt

Only 17% of adults view saving for retirement as a key financial priority according to a new financial wellness survey from the First National Bank of Omaha, as reported by financial news outlet CNBC. This data point is in spite of the fact that 59% of the same survey’s respondents remain unsure about whether or not they will be able to retire by age 65.

“While it’s a key element of your financial well-being, prioritizing retirement savings depends on where you are in the cycle of thinking about retirement, what you have in savings and your personal situation regarding employment, amount of debt, etcetera,” said Sean Baker, executive vice president of the individual customer segment for First National Bank of Omaha to CNBC.

46% of the group of adults surveyed currently have less than $15,000 saved for retirement, according to the results. Other financial priorities appear to be taking firmer hold among respondents. 40% detailed a priority toward increasing non-retirement savings, while 30% are prioritizing the paying down of existing debt.

8% responded that they have a focus on purchasing a “big-ticket item” (like a house or car), while 4% wanted to place their savings focus on expenses related to the raising of a child. An additional 1% responded that they’re focused on expenses for a wedding.

The survey was conducted among a pool of 1,000 adults over the course of February 2022.

“Retirement security is a pressing issue for many workers, as research persistently shows that many people have saved little for their golden years,” the CNBC column reads. “With fewer traditional pensions offered by companies, retirees generally must rely on Social Security and their own savings to fund a retirement that could stretch for two or three decades.”

Rising debt levels among seniors specifically is also starting to destabilize that cohort’s finances, according to recently-released research from AARP.

“American families have been accumulating debt at a rapid pace over the past two decades, with the debt level nearly doubling,” AARP explained earlier this month. “Yet family incomes have not kept pace. As a result, the long-term retirement security of many families is at risk. AARP surveyed working families in April 2021 and found that the two main barriers to people saving more for retirement are the lack of money (55%) and debt payments (44 %).”

Read the story about retirement savings trends at CNBC.

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