A new poll from SavingsAccounts.com released this week makes it clear that most Americans are saving much less than their parents did back when interest rates were high, meaning that today's investors need to revamp their long-term savings and investment strategies to ensure they'll be prepared for retirement.
Further complicating matters, it turns out that most people today have a distorted view of their savings prowess.
The survey found that 49% of respondents said they believe they're doing a better job of saving money than their parents did even though the Bureau of Economic Analysis' latest personal savings data found that Americans' personal savings rate averaged a meager 3.48% of total income over the past decade -- way, way down from the 9.63% recorded in 1981.
If that wasn't troubling enough, 30% of respondents admit their savings regiment is "worse" or "much worse" than the previous generation and only 22% said they think they're putting aside as much as their parents.
"The 1980s were famous for many things…mullets, parachute pants, fluorescent colors and building your own dynasty, thanks to high interest savings account rates of 14% or more," said Richard Barrington, personal finance expert at MoneyRates.com and author of the poll analysis. "These days, successful saving, amid measly bank rates below 1%, means following a new set of rules."
Indeed, with CD interest rates hovering right at or below 1%, the hope is that more Americans are investing the money their parents' put into savings accounts into higher yield products to offset the pedestrian interest rates. But considering that almost half of all Americans are concerned they won't have enough set aside to afford a comfortable retirement, that might be overly optimistic.
To turn things around in both the near- and short-term, Barrington suggests investors need to save a higher percentage of their annual income to make up for the weak growth they're realizing from savings accounts and CDs, commit a certain percentage of their weekly or monthly salary to savings, lower their overall investment return expectations and live as frugally as possible so they can capitalize if and when interest rates move higher.