Would You Rather Save for Retirement or Be a Better Person?

Most workers regret not saving for retirement more than being a better human being, said Diane Gallagher, Vice President of Defined Contribution Investment Only Practice Management at American Century.
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Most workers regret not saving for retirement more than being a better human being, said Diane Gallagher, Vice President of Defined Contribution Investment Only Practice Management at American Century. In its third annual defined contribution participant study, 'Who's In the Driver's Seat? Participants Just Want to Ride Along,' American Century surveyed 2,031 full-time workers ages 25 to 65 who participate in their employer's retirement plan. One of the survey’s major findings was that participants have a great deal of regret about their past saving behavior. According to the survey, participants said 'not saving enough for retirement' was the most commonly mentioned regret, even more so than 'doing better' with personal relationships and career and being a better person overall. Respondents highlighted their first five years of working as the time for which they have the most regret. 'American workers understand the power of compounding, we’ve done a great job of telling them how important it is to start early,' said Gallagher. 'But they also are aware of their own habits and they have a lot of self-awareness, knowing that if they started earlier they probably would have kept going throughout my career.' Another surprising finding from the survey is that most workers aspire for independence in retirement as opposed to affluence. The large majority said it would be far worse to have too little in retirement rather than miss out on enjoying something today.