More people saving for the long-term

Saving for retirement may not seem like a realistic goal to millions of Americans who have bigger money concerns, but the ability to do so typically denotes a strong financial understanding and a certain amount of flexibility. If anything, people who don't feel like this is something they can do might want to think about viewing retirement savings as a goal toward which they can work. And already, many are starting to do so.

At present, about 2 in every 3 Americans in their 20s have already begun saving for retirement, despite the fact that many continue to carry credit card debt and student loan balances, according to the latest data from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. That number grows to 76 percent of people in their 30s, and the same is true of people in their 40s.

"Today's workers recognize they need to save and self-fund a greater portion of their retirement income," said Catherine Collinson, president of TCRS. "In response, they are transforming the United States retirement system from a three-legged stool into a table by creating a fourth leg: working. The long-held view that retirement is a moment in time when people reach a certain age, immediately stop working, fully retire, and begin pursuing their dreams is more myth than reality. Retirement has become a transition that may be phased over time or happen abruptly due to intervening circumstances."

Being prepared by addressing bigger issues
Meanwhile, 22 percent of people in their 40s say that paying off their debts is still their biggest financial concern, and people who are about a decade older estimate they've saved up a median of about $117,000 to live on when they retire, the report said. But interestingly, nearly 3 in 5 members of the latter group also say that they will continue working past 65, or not retire at all.

What other benefits can this have?
Finding any way possible to save money may not only be a boon to a person's long-term finances, but also their present-day dealings. The fact is that many people are weighed down by heavy debts, including those credit cards and student loans, which can make it hard for them to put away any money at all. But if they can increase their payments into those accounts each month even slightly, they're going to be able to reduce their balances, increase the cutting power of each payment, and progress toward ongoing financial stability.

Want to learn more?