KSL INVESTIGATES

More than 1/3 Americans don’t have retirement; here’s how to start

Apr 29, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It may be the worst kept secret in America — many of us are falling short on retirement savings.

A recent study from Bankrate found nearly 36% of us have never had any sort of a retirement account — period. And of those who do, 52% say they’re behind where they need to be. So, if your savings plans have stalled, how do you get the ball rolling?

If you are counting on a trek to Idaho or Wyoming to fund your retirement with a Powerball jackpot, the harsh truth is you are much more likely to get struck by lightning, with odds of one in 15,300, than buying the winning ticket, with odds of one in 292,201,338.

But there is a sure way to score retirement funds: the magic of compound interest.

“The sooner you start, the better,” said certified financial planner Shane Stewart of Deseret Mutual Benefits Administrators.

Stewart said the money in your retirement account does not just sit idly waiting for your 67th birthday. It continuously grows with compounding interest.

“It will compound faster and faster the more years that you have. Now again, it’s never too late, but it’s also never too early,” he explained.

The KSL Investigators fired up a compound interest calculator to give you an idea: If you start putting away $500 a month at age 25, with a conservative six-percent rate of return, your nest egg will grow to $1,140,756 when you reach age 67. It is $581,735 if you start at age 35. At age 45, the nest will reach $274,478. Heck, even if you start at age 55, you will still have at least $105,600 squirreled away in 12 years.

“So, if you’re not retired and you think it’s too late, you’re wrong,” Stewart said. “There’s always something that you can do and a good time to start is now.”

If you have zero saved up for retirement, Stewart recommends starting by signing up for your job’s 401K plan. Take full advantage of any match your employer offers. It can double your retirement investment, for free!

No 401K?  Stewart recommends going with a Roth IRA account. Your contributions are post-tax dollars, so your investment compounds tax free.

“They make it very turnkey to get in and get started with them and they have proper investments that they provide, and properly diversified as well for your timeframe,” Stewart said.

“A lifetime goal is having 10% or more of what you’re making going in,” Stewart added. “But if you’re just starting, that might be a little much to take out of your paycheck, and so you might start with a few dollars of your paycheck each time and get that going.”

One of the best things you can do to turn saving for retirement into a strong habit, argues Stewart, is to automate your contributions from your payroll or bank account. That can help you keep on track without having to pin your hopes on the Powerball.

You should know, there is legislation making its way through Congress right now called the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022. If it passes, it will make automatic enrollment into retirement programs mandatory for businesses with more than 11 employees. And it would allow people in their 60s to significantly increase their catch-up contributions.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Sen. Curt Bramble and members of a Senate committee talk about a bill designed to keep elected offi...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

Should you get to see elected officials’ calendars? These Utah lawmakers say no

The KSL Investigators are days away from going to court to argue for your right to see the Utah Attorney General's work calendar. As we fight for transparency, lawmakers are stepping in to make it so the public doesn't get to see this record of how officials spend their time.

12 hours ago

Penny Belgard looks at a photobook with pictures of her son Cody, who was killed by Salt Lake City ...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Cases on the clock: KSL Investigates lengthy delays in SL County’s police use of force decisions

Months and years tick by as Salt Lake County’s top prosecutor weighs whether he’ll clear or charge officers for using force. The KSL Investigators explore the cost of that wait for officers, families, and public safety.

1 day ago

Pig-butchering is a devastating combination of romance and crypto scams, and it’s taking Utahns f...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Unmasking the fast-moving pig-butchering scam hitting Utah

Pig-butchering is a devastating combination of romance and crypto scams, and it’s taking Utahns for all their worth.

5 days ago

Utah's lemom law...

Matt Gephardt

Utah’s lemon law: Why the rules could leave you in a financial squeeze

Golf carts, side-by-sides and other recreational vehicles can cost well over $10,000. But if you end up with a lemon, Utah’s law may leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.

5 days ago

Hacker behind a keyboard. (FILE)...

Matt Gephardt

Using AI to tackle your debt

We've seen the power of artificial intelligence used to help navigate all sorts of complex problems: Medicine, education, customer service among many others. Well, it doesn’t get much more complex than Americans grappling with debt.

7 days ago

We’ve all encountered the latest gratuity trend. So, do you reward service that hasn’t happened...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

People hate tipping before they’re served, but does it affect the quality of service?

Should you reward service that hasn’t happened yet? Matt Gephardt digs into the new push to receive a gratuity before any work is done.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

More than 1/3 Americans don’t have retirement; here’s how to start