Saving (or Not) for Retirement

Americans in general do a less-than-sterling job of saving for retirement. But some population groups are in a particularly bad way, given the difficulties they have in salting money away. A report from the MetLife Mature Market Institute says 40-65-year-olds in “non-traditional families” have a harder time saving and are less likely to have formulated “a distinct retirement vision.”

Among 40-65s in “traditional families” (defined as two parents with kids from their own relationship), 66 percent report feeling at least somewhat prepared for retirement. That’s true for 56 percent of “blended families” (two parents with at least one child from a previous relationship) and for 40 percent of single women (widowed, divorced or never married, with or without children). One reason for these disparities: 41 percent of respondents in traditional families consistently contribute to their retirement accounts, vs. 29 percent of those in blended families and 21 percent of single women. Likewise, 70 percent of traditional families have a 401(k), vs. 58 percent of blended families and 42 percent of single women. There’s a similar pattern with respect to pension plans: 44 percent of traditional families said they have one, vs. 41 percent of blended families and 26 percent of single women.

One reason for single women’s poor numbers is that they’re more likely than other workers to be employed part-time, leaving many of them ineligible for retirement benefits. For whatever reason, they also suffer an information deficit. Sixty-five percent confessed that they don’t have a good idea of how much income they’ll need in retirement, vs. 54 percent of respondents in blended families and 48 percent of those in traditional families.