|By Patricia Sabatini, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
The overall improvements, compared with a year ago, were small but nonetheless important, said
Two indicators were particularly encouraging, he said.
Those who said they were spending less than their income and saving the difference rose to 71 percent, up from 68 percent last year.
And those who said they were setting aside at least 5 percent of their earnings jumped to 52 percent, up from 47 percent last year. Twenty-eight percent reported saving at least 10 percent, up from 26 percent.
On the flip side, that meant nearly half of Americans — 48 percent — were contributing less than 5 percent of their incomes toward retirement.
Also on the down side, just 40 percent of respondents said they were making good-to-excellent progress meeting their savings needs. That was up from 35 percent a year earlier.
"Americans are saving a little more effectively today than a year ago, but only a minority are doing so very successfully,"
Among all 14 indicators in the "America Saves" survey, none deteriorated from the previous year, he said. He attributed the gains to the continued pickup in consumer confidence and the economy.
In the 18-34 age group, 56 percent said they were saving at least 5 percent of their income, up from 50 percent last year.
The survey results were released to kick off America Saves Week, set aside annually since 2007 for nonprofits, government and corporate groups to promote good personal savings habits.
During a conference call with reporters, representatives of various interests sought to encourage workers to come up with a formal savings plan with specific goals instead of winging it.
"We know that having a savings plan makes a big difference" in the size of retirement nest eggs, said
People with savings plans tend to be "less willing to borrow unwisely and more likely to save conscientiously," he said.
For the average worker,
She recommended workers use the agency's retirement estimator, at www.SSA.gov, to help predict future
The complete "America Saves" survey, plus free financial planning tools and resources are available at www.AmericaSaves.org.
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