Free Coaching Call ($150 Value) With Any Purchase

Skip to Main Content

10 Frightening Retirement Stats That Should Scare You Into Action


That time of year when Americans break out their creepy masks, horror flicks and epic pranks. It’s the one day sanctioned to scare people beyond the capacity for rational thought.

Keeping with things that are frightening, we’re giving you the 10 scariest retirement statistics that emerged from a retirement study Ramsey Solutions commissioned.

1. Only 58% of Americans are actively saving for retirement.

That means more than 40% of people are not putting money away! That’s crazy! If you’re not in that 58%, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

2. 48% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

And that includes Baby Boomers—the ones who are nearing retirement age! Even if you keep $10,000 invested for 30 years at 10% growth, you’ll wind up with just $175,000 for retirement. That’s not enough to cover your medical expenses, much less your housing or other basic needs. Scary!

3. More than 50% of Baby Boomers say all or most of their retirement income will come from Social Security.

Most people only get an average of $1,340 per month for Social Security, which is only a little more than $16,000 per year! Do you think that’ll be enough for you? We don’t either.

4. One in 10 Americans are saving 15% or more of their monthly income toward retirement.

Why is that alarming? Because the stat tells me that the overwhelming majority of Americans are saving less than the amount recommended by the experts. In fact, most are saving less than 10% of their income. That could seriously derail your retirement dream.

5. Only 36% of Americans strongly agree or agree that they know how much money they’ll need to retire.

How do you work toward a goal if you don’t know what it is? Figuring out how much you’ll actually need may feel scary and overwhelming, but retiring without enough money is even worse. Use our free online tool to find out how much money you’ll need.

6. Just 40% of Americans have spent time working on their retirement plan.

Any big achievement—like funding your retirement—takes work. But most people spend more time planning for a week’s vacation than planning for their retirement years! Does that scare you? It should!

7. A majority of Americans are learning about retirement by word of mouth.

Yikes! Do you really want to trust your financial future to your family, friends and coworkers? We don’t recommend it! That’s why it’s so important to work with an investing professional who actually knows what they’re talking about!

8. Close to 60% of Americans report losing sleep thinking about retirement.

We’re not concerned about those people. We’re more worried about the 40% who don’t lose sleep thinking about retirement. That tells us that a lot of people are ignoring the problem and refuse to think about it.

9. Almost 35% of women have zero retirement savings (compared to 15% of men).

Ladies, listen up! Women make less than men on average, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t contribute to your retirement fund. Some of you ladies may be stay-at-home moms without a 401(k) to contribute to. No matter your situation, you can’t let any rationale keep you from planning for the future. There are lots of options for you.

10. The average debt load for Millennials is $30,580, and the average household income is $55,200.

Yet, Millennials say cost of living—not debt—is their top obstacle to saving more for retirement. This tells us that living for the moment trumps planning for the future. Now, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy your life now. Far from it. Saving 15% of your income allows you to plan for the future and go on vacation. It doesn’t have to be either/or. But debt is retirement quicksand. Get out as soon as you can!


How much will you need for retirement? Find out with this free tool!

Halloween comes and goes, but retirement planning is an ongoing priority. It’s time to get rid of the fear. It’s up to you to take charge of your finances and make better decisions going forward. Otherwise, your retirement years will be a troubling, frightening experience.

If you’re scared to go at it on your own, find a financial advisor who’ll stick with you for the long haul and help you stay on track. If you don’t have an advisor, we can put you in touch with an experienced investing pro in your area.

Find a SmartVestor Pro today!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

Related Articles

Thank you!  Your guide is on its way.

Invest With a Pro Who Gets This Stuff

Invest With a Pro Who Gets This Stuff

Your future is too important for guesswork. Get help from a SmartVestor Pro today.
Find Your Pro

Invest With a Pro Who Gets This Stuff

Your future is too important for guesswork. Get help from a SmartVestor Pro today.
Find Your Pro