Many Americans prioritize saving for retirement despite being squeezed by rising costs: survey

Inflation has pushed more retired Americans to drain savings, survey says

Inflation and rising costs are why 63% of Americans said they were concerned about purchasing necessities like food and clothing, but many were still making room to save for retirement, according to a recent survey. (iStock)

Although most Americans are worried about making ends meet in the current high-cost environment, many have prioritized saving more for retirement, a recent survey said. 

Inflation and rising costs were why 63% of Americans were concerned about purchasing necessities, such as food and clothing, and 55% were worried about paying their rent or mortgage, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards cost of living survey said.

For most survey respondents, inflation and price increases have meant curtailing how money is spent, with 72% saying they have started buying items on sale, 65% saying they switched to cheaper brands and 62% saying they purchased fewer products to make ends meet.

Despite the economic challenges, 34% of the survey respondents said they saved more for retirement this past year.

"These past several years have not been easy for Americans," CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller said in a statement. "From the pandemic to the latest banking news, uncertainty has been prevalent. This uneasiness increases the need for competent and ethical financial advice."

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Growing number of Americans worried about retirement savings

Despite many Americans making room for retirement savings, 69% said they were concerned about preparing for retirement, the survey said.

The biggest challenge for most Americans was debt; most reported dealing with credit cards (96%) and medical debt (78%), the survey said. Investors under the age of 45 were more likely to be delinquent on credit cards and delay loan payments compared to older survey respondents. 

However, both generations were just as likely to withdraw money from a retirement account, the survey said.

"Those actions could have negative consequences," the survey said. "While younger consumers could benefit from financial advice to avoid these types of actions, the survey shows that they were proactive in establishing or adding to an emergency savings account (49% vs. 42%) and invested in the stock market to take advantage of potential growth (37% vs. 31%)."

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Here's how inflation is impacting retired Americans

An increasing number of retired Americans said that inflation has sped up the depletion of their retirement funds, according to a recent Senior Citizens League survey.

Americans that said they had drained their retirement savings in the past 12 months jumped to 26% in the first quarter of 2023 from 20% percent in the third quarter of 2022, the survey said. Additionally, 45% said they carried debt on consumer credit cards for more than 90 days — the highest level recorded by the SCL. 

Inflation rose 5% year-over-year in March, a slowdown from the 6% increase in February, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. On a monthly basis, inflation rose 0.1% in March after increasing by 0.4% the month before, the BLS said. 

"Retirees exhaust retirement savings as they age, but it looks like inflation has sped up the process," Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League (SCL), said.  

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