Guilty as Self-Charged

Among the things people feel guilty about, their shabby job of saving money holds a special status. It’s the one about which all the experts agree they really should feel guilty. This helps explain why large majorities of people in diverse population cohorts confess they’re not saving as much as they should.

In a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project, 21 percent of all respondents said they’re saving enough. The figure rose just modestly, to 28 percent, among people in the $100,000-plus income bracket, though that put them ahead of the $50,000-99,999s (20 percent), the $30,000-49,999s (17 percent) and the under-$30,000s (16 percent). In a breakdown by race and ethnicity, 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites said they’re saving enough, as did 14 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics.

Surprisingly, there was no gender gap on this question, though one wonders whether female respondents might have a more realistic view of what constitutes “enough.” Age was a sharper point of division. Just 15 percent of 18-29-year-olds think they’re saving enough, vs. 17 percent of the 30-49s, 24 percent of the 50-64s and 36 percent of those 65 and older. The number among the 50-64s seems especially lackluster, since these people tend to be in their high-earning years and are coming within sight of retirement age.