Other findings in PNC's survey revealed insights from those actively planning retirement:
Retirement Readiness Tips
- Off track: Only 19 percent believe they are doing better than expected on saving for retirement and less than half (47 percent) believe they are where they need to be. About a third (31 percent) believe they are somewhat behind where they expected to be.
- Looking for help: Fewer than half (46 percent) have used a professional financial advisor to develop a financial plan. And over half (54 percent) say they would like more advice on preparing for retirement from a financial advisor or planner.
- Best moves: Four in 10 (43 percent) said their best moves in retirement planning included putting as much as they could into retirement plans, contributing by automatic deduction and keeping money in retirement accounts, while 15 percent listed "living within my means" as their best action.
- Living Wisely: Most (77 percent) believe they do an excellent or very good job of living within their means.
"Just as with exercising, there are good habits we can all follow to maintain our financial fitness and proactive steps that can help future retirees get their finances in order," Pappaterra said.
Tips include increasing contributions to a workplace retirement plan until the limit is reached and maximize contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and employer-sponsored defined contribution plans. Employer-sponsored plans, including 401(k)s, and IRAs offer great advantages including tax-deductible contributions and tax-deferred growth, he said.
Other steps to financial fitness include paying down a mortgage, paying off debt, rolling over 401 (k)s from past employers into IRAs or current 401 (k)s and saving for emergencies, he said.
Also critically important, Pappaterra said, is to know how much an individual will need to maintain a current lifestyle; reduce spending to maximize retirement savings; consider future health care expenses and think about timing of beginning Social Security payments which could affect the amount one receives.