In April, LIMRA, a think-tank for the financial industry, completed a survey intended to focus on the savings and investment preferences of those living and working in the United States. After receiving responses from 2,697 Americans, a representative sample of the country, LIMRA was able to determine that 49 percent of the country is not saving for retirement. Additionally, more than half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, at 56 percent, are not saving for retirement.
Saving for retirement - and receiving the associated tax benefits through typical investment types like 401(k) plans and IRAs - requires a public trust in the financial industry. On one side, financial planners, investment salespeople and brokers, columnists, and bloggers are encouraging the use of financial products that, through both apparent and hidden fees, enriches the industry, while on the other side, investment firms are the beneficiaries of massive taxpayer bailouts and frequently in the news for using taxpayer money for paying their executives bonuses that defy the laws of gravity.
It may be true that the reason many Americans do not save for retirement is ignorance. There are typical excuses for not saving for retirement, such as the lack of good, seemingly trustworthy information about the options that are available, the lack of knowledge about the benefits of investing in 401(k) plans and IRAs, or the belief that during tight personal economic times, not a cent is available to save for the future. After the recession, however, many people just see the financial industry as unworthy of trust. Organizations like LIMRA, working for the industry and promoting financial products, are unlikely to bring this attitude to the public attention.
The industry is more interested in shaming people unwilling to get on the boats rather than analyzing the leadership capabilities and trustworthiness of the boats' captains.