ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll found that while 90% of U.S. adults say they plan to retire, more than one in five (22%) have not yet taken any steps to plan for this event.
Among single households, this figure rises, with 41% of respondents yet to begin planning for retirement. In fact, 10% of respondents in this poll say they do not plan to retire at all.
These are just some of the results of an online survey of 4,037 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive from Jan. 8-10.
While the mean age for beginning retirement planning is 33.3 years old, young people say they are planning for retirement earlier. The median age at which 18- to 34-year-olds begin planning is 23.6; for 35- to 44-year-olds it jumps to 29.1; for ages 45-54 it is 35.6; and for those ages 55 and older, the median is 42.8.
Among the steps taken by those who plan to retire, 29% say they are contributing to an employer-sponsored account such as a 401(k), 21% have opened a separate retirement savings account or a Roth IRA, and 20% are investing in taxable stocks, bonds, mutual funds or annuities. Only 10% say they have worked with a financial adviser or other professional to develop a retirement plan.
Respondents in the 45 to 54-age group are the most active with the things they are doing to prepare for retirement. Of all the age groups, they are most likely to be working with an advisor (15%) and planning the type of work they'll do when they retire (18%).
Respondents with a college degree and those with the highest incomes are most active in retirement preparation. Seventy percent of college graduates and 75% of respondents with income over $75,000 have begun planning, compared to 50% of the total population. Furthermore, college graduates and income earners of over $75,000 are also twice as likely to be working with a financial planner on retirement needs (20% each vs. 10% of the total population).
Conversely, respondents with just a high school education or less are least likely to have started planning for retirement, with only 35% of respondents doing so, compared to 50% for the total population. This group is also most likely to claim they do not intend to retire--16% vs. 10% of the total population--which may explain why they have not begun planning for retirement, according to the survey. Additionally, one-third (33%) of respondents who make under $35,000 have not started to plan for retirement.