PenFed survey finds Americans more focused on short-term savings; Saving 7.6% of salary on average for retirement

TYSONS, VA (March 2, 2018) — PenFed Credit Union, the nation’s second-largest federal credit union, today announced results from a nationwide survey on consumer behaviors and opinions related to savings. Nationally recognized market research firm McLaughlin & Associates conducted the survey on behalf of PenFed. It found that on average, adults direct 7.6% of their salary to their retirement savings. The percentage increases among households with incomes over $100,000, college graduates, men, adults with a financial advisor and adults who have automatic savings.

When asked what they would do if given $5,000, only 23% of respondents said they would put it towards retirement, while 63% would put the money in savings and 55% would pay bills.

“It’s hard to think about retirement when it seems so far away. But if you start saving a small amount today, it will add up for the future,” said Stephen Simpson, CFP®, AAMS®, Vice President, Affiliated Businesses with PenFed. Mr. Simpson leads PenFed’s Wealth Management Division including Investment Management Services and Trust and Fiduciary Services. “You don’t need to have an employee-sponsored 401K account to get started. Look into getting a second savings account or money market certificates.”

McLaughlin & Associates conducted the survey from February 15 – February 21, 2018, on behalf of PenFed Credit Union. The survey was conducted online among a cross section of 1,000 adults age 18 and over, and has an accuracy of +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval. It found:

  • Men are more likely to put a higher percentage of their salary towards retirement than women (8.9% to 6.4%).
  • Adults with automatic savings put twice as much percentage wise towards their retirement than adults without auto-savings or a banking app (10.2% to 4.8%)
  • Households with incomes over $100,000 put nearly 2-times a higher percentage towards retirement than lower-income households (11.7% to 6.2%).
  • The percentage that adults with a financial advisor put towards their retirement is basically 2-times greater than the percentage saved by adults without an advisor (10.4% to 5.5%).
  • College graduates save at a higher percentage rate than adults without a college degree (9.3% to 6.2%).

PenFed, which has more than 1.6 million members, is participating in America Saves Week by working to educate consumers about the importance of saving. America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Additionally, PenFed is participating in Military Saves Week by encouraging its members to save in its branches on military bases. Military Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the Consumer Federation of America in partnership with the Department of Defense. The Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

Each day during America and Military Saves Week, a new theme is introduced to educate consumers. During the course of America and Military Saves Week, PenFed will continue to release survey findings and tips from PenFed financial experts related to savings.

Visit to learn more about how you can save with PenFed Credit Union. Click here to take the America Saves Week pledge. Click here to take the Military Saves Week pledge.

About PenFed Credit Union

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America's second-largest federal credit union, serving 2.9 million members worldwide with nearly $35 billion in assets. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading certificates, checking, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and a wide range of other financial services with members' interests always in mind. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on X. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.


Abagail Chambers
Account Coordinator
+1 724 366 0397

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