Survey: 36% of workers have less than $1,000 in savings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A new national survey shows that 36% of workers have less than $1,000 in savings and investments, 60% have less than $25,000 put away and 44% percent say they've calculated how much money they'll need to save for retirement.

One Jacksonville family says they're not surprised by the figures gathered by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates.

Walking hand in hand, Jacob and Wendy Cloud like many couples have been through some tough times. They're in their mid- 30s and say retirement is certainly not an immediate concern. In fact, the Clouds believe saving for retirement is impossible at their current stage in life.

"I have negative $82 in the bank because I had to fill up the gas tank," said Jacob.

He joined the workforce as a farmer, at 13 years old and 23 years later Cloud says he doesn't have much to show for it.

The Clouds have a familiar story to tell, they're living paycheck-to-paycheck.

"I get paid on Friday, get through the weekend, get through Monday then by about Tuesday I'm starting to run out of money," said Jacob.

His family of four recently hit rock bottom and are now living out of their SUV.

"I have a wife and two kids I can't provide for," said Jacob emotionally.

An article released by USA Today says less than 40% of workers have less than $1,000 in savings doesn't surprise the Cloud's at all.

RELATED: Retirement: A third have less than $1,000 put away

"Look around you," said Wendy. "And I'm not talking about looking at your neighbors. Walk Downtown (Jacksonville) and look at the variety of people there and you tell me how many people have that much money sitting there."

Financial Planner, Diane Hutchings with First Florida Investment Services says she too is not surprised, and knows first-hand people don't save like they should.

Hutchings says she's seen people in desperate situations turn their financial futures around. She offers these helpful tips:

Preparing for Retirement Tips:

Save for Retirement

Take advantage of employer retirement accounts such as a 401k or a 403b or set up an Individual Retirement Account on your own. Even if you start your saving with less than 5%, you can increase the amount annually until you reach 10-15%. The important first step is to start somewhere and keep increasing it until you reach your savings goal.

An additional benefit, if you are contributing to your retirement account at work, you may be eligible for a matching contribution by your employer, which will get you to your goal much quicker.

Live Below Your Income

There may be things you can buy because you qualify for the 'loan'. Like a brand new car or particular house or even those electronics. Borrow less than you qualify to borrow. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck and not saving 15%, there may be a way to make a lower payment and fund your savings.

Pay off High Interest Debt

If you are using credit cards, bank or store cards, odds are good you are paying a great deal of interest if you are carrying a monthly balance. Make a list of these debts and look at your balance and the interest rate you are being charged. Develop a plan to stop using the cards and begin paying off the balances. Do not carry the cards with you!

Create a Spending Plan

Know where your money is going by creating a list of your monthly expenses. This may help you to find areas of opportunity to begin cutting back and re-directing your spending toward savings. Make sure you are shopping your renewable expenses like phone and internet service as well as car and homeowners insurance.

Put Your Retirement Income and Expenses on Paper

Based on today's expenses, develop a retirement spending plan so that you will have an idea of the cost to fund your retirement. Then inventory your income sources to estimate what income you will have and when it will begin. The difference is your Retirement Need!

Here are three options if you are behind:

-Reduce your expenses

-Post-pone your retirement date

-Save more now


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