(The Hill) — Workers in the United States believe they will need to save around $1.8 million for retirement, as inflation continues to fuel anxieties over savings, according to a survey from Charles Schwab.
This estimate is up from last year’s $1.7 million, with 37 percent of respondents stating they think it’s very likely they will reach this number, down 10 percentage points from last year, according to the survey.
The survey of 401(k) participants found 62 percent of workers think of inflation as a challenge to saving for a “comfortable retirement,” up from last year’s 45 percent, while 42 percent said stock market volatility is an obstacle, compared to last year’s 33 percent. Around 78 percent said both inflation and stock market volatility are influencing their spending and saving habits, while 36 percent said they plan to delay retirement in light of these conditions.
Having a 401(k) plan is becoming a requirement for potential employees; 88 percent said it is a “must-have benefit,” while 3 out of 4 respondents said they would turn down a new job if it didn’t offer a 401(k) plan.
“While many workers are trying to cut back on spending, some costs are unavoidable and certain areas of their finances have taken a hit,” said Brian Bender, head of Schwab Workplace Financial Services. “Despite these challenges, retirement saving continues to be a priority for workers, who have maintained their 401(k) savings rates and largely stayed on top of their 401(k) investments over the past year.”
More workers are now stashing away retirement funds: 68 percent reported putting money into a savings account, up from 61 percent last year; 47 percent reported IRA investments, compared to 33 percent last year; and 38 percent reported investing through a brokerage account, up from 29 percent.
The survey also touched upon the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in financial planning, and how 95 percent of workers are still more likely to take guidance from a human professional over computer-generated advice. That advice plays a large role in workers’ decisions, with workers’ confidence in financial decisions rising from 27 percent to 49 percent with help from a professional.
A majority of workers, 73 percent, said they would like personalized advice on their 401 (k) plan and 39 percent said they receive such advice through work plans.
The survey comes as inflation persists across the country.
Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said there is still “a long way to go” to get inflation back to its 2 percent target. In July, the Fed raised its baseline interest rate to the highest level in 22 years in its fight to curb inflation.
The online study conducted by Logica Research questioned 1,000 401(k) participants in the U.S. between April 19-May 2. In addition to being 401(k) respondents, those surveyed worked for companies with at least 25 employees and were ages 21-70. The study said the data was self-reported by study participants and is not verified or validated.