Middle Aged Americans Are More Concerned with Paying off Debt than Saving for Retirement

January 15, 2019

While most Americans ages 40-59 were able to save for retirement in 2018, doing so wasn’t their most pressing financial concern. A new survey conducted by the AARP and the Ad Council found the most common top savings priority for workers in that age group was paying off debt (33 percent), ahead of saving for retirement (21 percent) and putting aside money for emergencies (11 percent). Fewer than half (47 percent) of those surveyed even listed saving for retirement to be one of their top three savings priorities.

While it may not have been their main priority, nearly seven in ten (69 percent) were able to save at least some money for retirement in 2018. For those who were not able to save for retirement, the most common reasons (53 percent) were a lack of money left after covering basic expenses, or an unexpected expense that needed to take priority (37 percent).

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