A new survey offers a look at Americans' retirement savings, and two somewhat conflicting points stand out: Some 36% of us have less than $1,000 saved for our golden years, yet a higher proportion are feeling very confident they can retire in comfort. That $1,000 doesn't factor in respondents' primary residences or any set benefit plans (like pensions), USA Today notes. But "what's really striking is that 73% of those without a retirement plan, such as an IRA, 401(k) or 403(b), have less than $1,000 in savings and investments," says the survey's co-author.
Some 60% have less than $25,000 saved up, and just 44% have even calculated how much they'll need in retirement. The cost of daily life is holding people back from saving, they say. Still, confidence figures are improving. Last year, just 13% felt very confident about retiring comfortably, the Los Angeles Times reports. But this year, the figure climbed to 18%, with 37% feeling somewhat confident. The upshot, per the survey authors: "This increased level of confidence does not appear to be founded on improved retirement preparations. In the aggregate, worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps to prepare for retirement." USA Today has detailed results from the survey of 1,000 workers and 501 retirees. (Read more retirement stories.)