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

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

A rendering of a cell site simulator. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

Utah placed limits on police use of spy tech; Do they go far enough?  

For months, the KSL Investigators have been asking questions about spy technology law enforcement uses but doesn’t want to talk about. What exactly does the high-tech tool do, and what happens to your information if it gets caught up in a digital dragnet?
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Why you should stop using your work computers, phones for personal use

Many Utahns are still working from home, spending a lot of time on their work computers. That can make it easy to forget it's not a personal computer. But KSL's Matt Gephardt has three reasons why you should use your work computers for one thing — work.
1 day ago
fireworks injuries study...
Matt Gephardt

Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may throw a wet blanket on your 4th of July plans – or at least make you think about bringing a wet blanket with you just in case your family’s celebration adds to a troubling trend.
3 days ago
Peter Ingle talking to Matt Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Too risky to insure? Why your homeowner’s insurance could go up in smoke

There are good reasons for an insurance company to drop your homeowner’s coverage. But what happens when you’re dropped for something you have no control over? KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt went out to find: can they do that?
4 days ago
FILE - Thousand gather at the Utah State Capitol to support a woman's right to choose. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

‘It was hastily passed’: Medical, legal experts raise concerns about Utah’s abortion trigger law

Senate Bill 174, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020, was crafted, in part, to send a message. Now, medical and legal experts are sounding alarm bells about how it will work in practice.
7 days ago
FILE - Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shopp...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Americans shy away from using credit cards abroad, missing out on best exchange rates

As COVID-19 wanes, travel agencies are seeing a massive spike in bookings as folks look to spread their wings and travel abroad.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
More than 1/3 Americans don’t have retirement; here’s how to start