General, Retirement

Are Americans Financially Educated on Retirement Savings?

December 1, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Daughter helping mother pay bills onlineFinancial education helps people learn about savings, credit, and loans. It also helps prepare people for life changes and to weather the unexpected. This knowledge is essential when planning for retirement.

So, how prepared are U.S. adults for their future retirement? At the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), we poll on key issues related to a person’s financial past, present, and future. This includes retirement savings.

Here’s what we have learned over the past year:

  • In our financial well-being poll conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, 85% of respondents confirmed some part of their personal finances was causing them stress. For 31% of respondents, that concern was “having enough saved for retirement.”
  • In that same poll, 70% said they made financial adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that group, 27% increased contributions to their emergency savings, retirement savings, or other savings or investments. In comparison, 21% tapped into emergency savings—or borrowed against retirement savings.
  • In a poll about financial education mandates, 80% of U.S. adults said they wish they were required to complete a semester- or yearlong course focused on personal finance education during high school and 88% think their state should require a semester- or year-long course for high school graduation.
  • In that same poll, 84% of those approaching retirement age (60+ years old) said “spending and budgeting” should be taught in schools.

People who champion financial education typically live by the mantra “the earlier, the better.” It’s also important, though, that people keep learning throughout their lives to ensure they have the knowledge they need to make the best financial decisions.

Lifetime financial education can be a helpful tool in preparing for retirement. This includes understanding Social Security retirement benefits and making the most of retirement income.

A personal my Social Security account should be a part of your financial plan. With a secure my Social Security account, you can verify your earnings history, get personalized retirement benefit estimates, and more.

To learn more about NEFE’s mission, visit our website. Please share this information with friends and family who need it.

Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.

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  1. neha

    Everything is woke to these right wing racist extremists.Quick Odia

  2. Jonson

    Everything is woke to these right wing racist extremists.

    They want the children to grow up as dumb as them. When you are dumb as them, you can be brainwash. ITI Books Free Download

  3. Susan

    Oh, Dr. Beth Bean, you have brought up a very important topic for me as never before. It bothers me that schools don’t invest in savings education. I will say in my experience that I first encountered such research paper lectures only in university and that only because I studied economics, many majors go on to ignore that fact, but it is too important, in my opinion, to just ignore it. Your survey information shocked me, and it confirms all my past theories. Thank you for the work you have done.

    • Brian

      S.S. was never intended to be a retirement plan, but to keep mostly elderly women off the street. As always, politicians lied and pushed S.S. as a retirement program. Many people I know, either don’t bother to save, or don’t believe they will live that long. Although many are just the victims of bad luck, others just don’t save, but prefer to play the lottery, buy pull tabs at bars, go on big vacations, etc; others like myself, made it a priority to save for retirement, only to have the government penalize them by taxing S.S., raise the cost of Medicare on those who make over a certain amount. One party in particular, has adopted Leftist ideas and does all it can to redistribute money. 🤨

  4. Debby

    Americans need to be educated, but with the truth and not lies. Why do people need to worry about social security being there for them when they retire. People are working and paying into social security all the time. The government is the one that needs to keep their hands off of the social security money and pay back what they have taken out already with interest. The government should have never been able to take the hard earned money put into their social security only to have threats it will be gone. Our government needs to be held accountable for their actions. If we did something like that we would be paying until we die or be put in jail. America needs to wake up to all of the slander and stealing the government does. We can stop it by getting rid of everyone and voting new in. Terms need to be put on congressman and senators. They can do 2 terms and then they are done. No more government benefits either.

    • Alex

      I whole heartedly agree, Debby. It’s not the government’s money or a slush fund to borrow from and not pay back.
      By extension, it’s taxation without representation. A revolution was the result the last time “they” tried that.

    • maxxc

      You need to quit listening to Fox News[sic] propaganda. SSA has never missed a check and has a huge surplus. Unless republicans sabotage SSA it will be there. An easy fix is to remove the wage cap on SSA taxes. You do know that for the year 2023 only the first160,200 dollars of income are taxed. That means that the “leisure class” pays only a pittance in taxes. That should be annoys people about SSA, not republican BS.

      BTW, SSA performs as well as if not better than the stock market. Track the stock market from 1937 and it is about six percent with risk. SSA is about the same w/o risk and in addition it is somewhat protected from inflation and to boot it is an insurance policy for your family while working and for your spouse while retired.

      Bottom line, quit listening to the leisure class and those who lick their bums, e.g. Fox News[sic]. They are not your friends and are simply telling you lies.

      • Midge

        I read an article probably 25 years ago, that research on SSI showed that if those who paid into SSI had been given the money back, to invest on their own (of course we know how a lot of people would have spent that money, and they wouldn’t have invested or saved it). Then those WHO DID INVEST AND SAVE, would now being getting $35,000 per month instead of just $3,500, or adjust for whatever 40+ wages you desire.

        When I read that, I was shocked. But, one would have had to have great saving discipline, a financial plan, and most of us, some guidance.

        Still… I think of that article often and wonder what the SSA has the fund invested in? Could they be making higher returns if more diversified? Makes one think for sure!

  5. Tony

    Everything is woke to these right wing racist extremists.

    They want the children to grow up as dumb as them. When you are dumb as them, you can be brainwash.

  6. Margo

    YES, please Secretary if education, implement financial education into CORE
    CURRICULUM AT the High School level.

    And PLEASE START PSYING TEACHERS WHAT THEY’re WORTH, and not SLAVE WAGES. AND GIVE TEACHERS WHO HAVE RETIRED and PAID THEIR STUDENT LOANS OFF, a forgiveness refund, as a thank you for their unwavering service to the thousands of students who benefitted over the many years they taught, BECAUSE THEY TOO DESERVE TO be included and recognized for their efforts to educate our future wage earners.

    If our federal government can send so much aid to other countries and take in illegal aliens, paying to house, feed and clothe them, then our federal government can do more for its current and retired teachers, who’ve endured the burden of paying back student loans because they were ineligible for the loan forgiveness programs that were a joke.

    I also add this. The secretary of Education should never be someone who has never been an educator. It doesn’t make sense, the way it doesn’t make sense to let someone who has never been an educator be a superintendent of a school district.

    Todays schools are being run by the students and their parents, especially school districts with wealthy parents.
    Good administrators who have worked in the classrooms, on the front line of education, should be the ones calling the shots, not Susie or Jonny, or Susie and Jonny’s mom and dad, because their children didn’t put forth their effort to receive a good grade, or a teacher made an error and called a child who might be in the process of transgender a he, or she, or him, or her, when the opposite was the case.

    It’s NOT an EDUCATORS responsibility to keep track of a transgender students pronoun, when the educator has 30+ students a class, and up to 7 classes a day.

    No, it’s the parents responsibility to make sure their child Id taken care of, wether that means homeschool, or a private institution where their child can attend school with like minded students, etc.

    Secretary of education needs to set forth a much BETTER plan to take care of Americas brave, underpaid TEACHERS, not OVERPAID, out of touch administrators, or there may be no educators left to teach Americas future!

    • John A.

      Are all these supposed teachers teaching or are they indoctrinating? In this once great nation we have invested billions if not trillions in our education system, and the return on investment has us way behind many other nations who have not wasted the amount of money our nation has spent. Our education system needs to be overhauled, and we need to weed out those who have invested our schools and colleges with their progressive indoctrination.

      • Margo

        Hey John, it’s not the teachers dragging the students and cut tey behind, thank your good old Government! Teachers WANT to teach, but there is so much federal and state involvement now, that teachers HAVE TO subscribe to the ‘CORE’ curriculum, and have so much governmental paperwork, it’s ridiculous! Those billions and trillions of dollars spent on education isn’t going to the teacher, that’s for sure!

        Want to get a Birds Eye view of education? Become a teacher, or a sub for a year or so, snd you too will see what I’ve been saying.

        Schools are no longer run by the teachers, who can and WANT to teach, but by helicopter parents, students who are wealthy and spoiled, and by bureaucrats who have NEVER set foot in front a a classroom!

        I know it’s a tough subject, as teachers are paid through taxes. Like everything else, if we help our elected officials accountable, there would be much more funding for teacher, and for LETTING teachers teach, than spending billions for ‘others’ to research how to spend those billions!

        The entire system is ridiculous!

        86% of parents with high school age students, DO NOT WANT THEIR CHILD TO GO INTO EDUCATION! What does that say for our future????

    • MajJohn

      Your depiction of teachers is quaint and outdated. Most, not all, have been indoctrinated to promote alternative and socialist lifestyles. The parents are and should be the ultimate authority on what children are taught and to that end must elect school board members who share their values. To say that the Secretary of the Department of education must be an educator is like inbreading in the royal family or the fox watching out for the chickens.

      And proper pronouns?? What a load of buffalo crap.

      • maxxc

        Nonsense. “Inbreading”? Is that a proper word?

        The U.S. does not invest enough in education and should remove all tax money to private schools, e.g. Catholic/Evangelist/Home Schoolers/Jewish/Christian/Muslin/Private Universities etc.

        “Socialist lifestyles” are certainly preferable to “religious lifestyles” which leads to Iran-like societies or the Christian Middle Ages with inquistions or morality police.

        • Brian

          Komrad, please go live in Russia, Putin is in need of recruits for the front line!

        • Margo


      • Mar

        Have you ever been a teacher???

        Didn’t think so!

        Try it, you might not like it!

      • Margo

        Yes, you read that correctly! Teachers are now responsible for using the proper pronoun that a child wants to be known by.

        So, to you and all the other people who think teaching is a breeze, and teachers don’t do anything, the parents and students should dictate, NOT WHAT, but HOW a school is run, should be the FIRST TO SIGN UP to teach.

        You’d have a whole different prospective once you’ve ACTUALLY done the job, snd been in the classroom.

        I love it when those who’ve NEVER done something, try to tell everyone else how to do it! The whole reason our country is in the shape it’s in!


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