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U.S. retirement saving - statistics & facts

The share of the U.S. population aged 65 years and older has continuously increased since the 1950s and is expected to continue rising. As of today, Americans live on average 20 more years after retiring, which calls for well-designed retirement plans. There are different ways to save for retirement, such as retirement plans offered by the employer, savings and investments, and Social Security among other.

Different types of retirement plans

Retirement plans in the United States are either classified as defined benefit (DB) plans or defined contribution (DC) plans. Both are employer-sponsored but the main difference between them is the risk-bearer. A defined benefit plan provides a defined payment amount guaranteed by the employer when the employee retires, and the employer holds the risk for the development of the investments. A defined contribution plan is mainly funded by the employee, as a proportion from their salaries in chosen investments offered by the plan. Defined contribution plans are more common, and the most common type of retirement savings in the United States in 2020 was the 401(k) plan.

Retirement savings since the coronavirus pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted retirement savings in several ways, such as falling interest rates, decrease in assets value of retirement savings accounts, job losses followed by a declined capability of contributing. Even before the crisis, a large proportion of the U.S. adult population were without retirement savings or had rather low amounts saved up. After the outbreak, 18 percent stated to have decreased their retirement savings, compared to before the pandemic. A large share also stated to have a declined confidence in their ability to retire comfortably compared to before the coronavirus outbreak.


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