It’s not just the government, through Social Security, that is responsible for helping Americans prepare for retirement, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll of 2,242 adults last month. Employers have a duty, too, and it’s not just through 401(k) plans. Even though many employers are doing away with pension plans, 38% believe the government should require employers to set aside more money for pension plans.
Forty-nine percent said the government should increase tax breaks for people who save outside of work and 47% said it should increase Social Security payments.
As to whether Social Security will be available to them in their retirement years, few are optimistic, with less than 20% of those under the age of 55 thinking it will and 56% of those age 55 or older.
Forty-five percent of all respondents said they don’t believe either the Republicans or the Democrats will address the Social Security funding crisis, but 38% said the Democrats will and 17% said the Republicans will step up to the plate.
Sixty percent said personal investments will help fund their retirement, but only 40% expect income from a 401(k) plan. Nonetheless, 401(k)s are the most popular investment vehicle, with nearly half saying they plan to invest in a 401(k), followed by 37% saying they expect to invest in an IRA.
Those with higher education appear to be better prepared for retirement, with only 4% of college graduates saying they do not have any retirement savings, compared with 13% of those with only some college education and 30% of those with a high school diploma or less.