While you might be saving some money for your retirement, it's likely not enough, new research finds.
Many workers, including those near the ends of their careers, aren't on track to meet the retirement savings goals they've set for themselves, according to a study from the Natixis Global Asset Management firm.
The potential shortfall is particularly significant among baby boomers, many of whom lacked access to retirement plans earlier in their careers. The research shows that baby boomers, those between the ages of 50 and 67, have saved an average of $262,541, just a third of the $805,398 they predict they'll need for retirement.
Younger employees also have a ways to go to fulfill their retirement needs. Members of Generation X, workers between the ages of 34 and 49, have saved only $206,866 toward their goal of just over $1 million.
And even though they're just launching their careers, many millennials are potentially putting themselves behind the 8-ball in retirement by choosing an unrealistic retirement-fund target. Currently, millennials say they believe they'll need just $822,000 for retirement, a number researchers say may be too low, given their age.
John Hailer, CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia, said investors of all ages should take a second look at how much they save and what their needs are likely to be when they retire. [Employee Retirement Plans: A Buyer's Guide ]
"While many workers get it right, others might ask if their investing targets will get the job done," Hailer said in a statement. "Too many seem to be setting the bar too low, because they may lack access to the proper tools, education and guidance."
The good news is that the vast majority of U.S. workers who have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans are taking advantage of them. The study discovered that 90 percent of workers eligible to participate in 401(k)s are making contributions. Tax incentives, matching employer contributions and automatic enrollment are contributing to the high participation rate.
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The research revealed that despite that high number, many employees struggle to understand all of the ins and outs of their retirement plans. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said the retirement materials provided by their employer are too difficult to understand, while 33 percent aren't clear on exactly where their money is being invested.
In addition, nearly half of those surveyed said if they understood their plans better, they would consider increasing their contributions.
"We need to look for opportunities to expand the availability of 401(k) plans and encourage current participants to better understand their retirement income needs," Hailer said. "Investors, plan sponsors, financial advisors and the government all have roles to play in helping to solve retirement planning challenges."
Overall, 84 percent of retirement plan participants say their 401(k) accounts will be their biggest source of retirement income. Ed Farrington, executive vice president for retirement and business development for Natixis, said despite that reliance, many American workers don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement program.
"Policymakers should consider ways to make it easier for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans and to bring benefits to part-time workers," Farrington said.
The study was based on surveys of 899 active 401(k) plan participants in the United States.
Originally published on Business News Daily