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Top 8 Reasons Why People Aren’t Saving For Retirement


How often do you think about saving for retirement? I am 28 years old and sometimes I feel like I think about saving up for retirement more often than the combined thoughts of 10 people my age. So often I hear my friends spouting that stupid YOLO (You Only Live Once) phrase while they buy up ridiculous toys and houses that they can’t really afford. They are so concerned with the stuff that they think they need that they will most likely have very little to show for their efforts when they retire. Nobody is talking about what they are doing now in order to fund their retirement, and here are the top 8 reasons why:

1) “I Don’t Have Enough Money”

There are truly some people out there that are down on their luck and are doing everything that they can just to survive, but the majority of the people that are complaining about money could easily save for their future if they would just reduce the quality of their lifestyle a little bit. Instead of living in a $250,000 house that is keeping them strapped for cash every month, they could be living in a $100,000 house and putting $500 away into their retirement fund 12 times a year.

retirement2) “There is Plenty of Time to Start Saving”

People often feel like retirement is so far into the future that they just decide not to save for it until later. This is a huge mistake. The longer you wait to invest, the less it will work in your favor. Don’t be that person that waits until they’re 50 years old and then say, “Oh crap, I don’t have any money saved up.” The best time to start investing is now, no matter how old or young you are.

3) “Why Save? I Plan to Work Until I Die”

Some people absolutely love the work that they do, so they just assume that they will work until God takes them off this earth. While this sounds all well and good, that’s just not how it works half the time. More often than not, our body or our mind will not allow us to function as we once did, so we are forced to live in a retirement community or worse, a hospital. When this happens, bills pile up fast. Just a run of the mill retirement home can cost $70k a year. If you saved nothing, that burden will be on your children.

4) “I Want to Pay Off Debt First”

I am all about paying off debt, but you also need to invest to support your future. Just last year, I had $20,000 of debts to pay off, but I did not stop contributing to my 401(k). Over the course of the year, I was able to pay off that debt and contribute 6% of my paycheck to my retirement fund each year. Just in that one year, that fund has increased by $15,000. As you can tell, putting money into that 401(k) was entirely worth it. If you get a match from your company, do everything you can to put money into that retirement fund.

5) “There Is No Match From My Employer”

Ok, so you don’t get a match from your employer when you save for your retirement. So what? It’s not their responsibility to keep you alive financially. You should just be thankful to have a job that puts a roof over your head and food on the table. Even if you don’t get a match from your employer, you can earn quite a sizable amount of money over the years if you just stay consistent.

6) “I’m Scared I Will Lose Money”

Some people are absolutely terrified of the stock market because it has hurt them before. To be honest, I don’t really know what that feels like. I didn’t start investing until 2009 when the market was at its low. But, I know that if the market goes back down again, I will be investing aggressively because chances are that it will bounce right back like it has done in the past. Plus, I know that the alternative is even more scary. If I would just take my cash and stuff it under my mattress that it will be worth far less at retirement (due to inflation). Forty years from now, my $100 will likely be worth about $10. So if I was able to save $500,000 in my bank account, that would only be worth about $50,000 (in today’s money) during my retirement years, which would allow me to live for about 2 or 3 years. By not investing, your chance of losing is 100%.

7) “I Want to Help My Kids Get Through College”

It sounds admirable doesn’t it? Instead of putting money away for retirement, you will put that money toward your child’s education and give them a better future. Maybe you are, but I see two problems with that. First of all, you are not teaching them responsibility with this move and they will likely not take their education seriously. And second, when you reach your retirement years you will be expecting them to help you out financially, which doesn’t sound all that caring to me. Does that make any sense to you?

8 ) “The Stock Market Is About To Go Down”

When the market is going down, people tend to stop contributing to their 401(k), but this is actually the best time to invest! If the market was healthy today and I put in $100, I would probably buy 2 shares of stock. Let’s say a year from now the stock tumbles to half of its value. Suddenly, I am able to buy 4 shares of stock with the same amount of money. If those stock prices raise back up to their original value, then I will be a very rich man. Don’t get nervous when the market goes down. Stick to your guns and continue to invest.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. We experienced #4 simply because we had SO much debt, and our payment was SO big for the last 4.5 years that we had to stop contributing simply to make ends meet. The good news is that my employer contributes 2% of my salary even if we do nothing, so between that and the stock market gains my 401K has been growing. now that we’re almost done with our debt management program we can again start pumping more funds into it.

    • Hi Travis! I can see where having large debt would make it difficult to consider investing, but it is pretty crucial. If you were able to squeeze out $200 extra a month, do you think you would have invested? Or was your mind (and efforts) just focused on that debt?

  2. I’m not really sure why people who are professionals are not saving up for retirement. There’s no excuse at all. We started saving as soon as we graduated from college. Granted in the first year, we only saved about $7K, but the next year we saved even more, and this year, I hope we can save even more than last year.

    • I’m not sure either Savvy. I think for many they just started getting wrapped up in “living the dream” after college. At the time, they just assume that everyone finances everything, and think nothing of it…until the debt starts to weigh them down. Only then does debt start to sound like a bad idea and their future troubles start to enter their mind. The only problem is, by the time they think about investing, they are too far in debt to start!

  3. I think a question people may want the answer to is what caused the idea of saving for retirement at a young age click for you? you said you started a couple of years ago – did something monumental go on to make you realize you needed to start? I know for me the impetus was seeing my mother trying to survive on a small amount of money, some due to her own fault, some not – and seeing my future smacking me in the face. I’m still not sure if I started young enough to have ‘enough’ – but that’s the golden question, how much is ENOUGH…

    • That’s a great question Nancy! I have just always thought about making money, even when I was a young boy. Investing just seemed like a logical step to me because I knew about the power of compounding. The younger you start, the more powerful compounding is, and the less you have to worry about money later in life. What finally nudged me into a 401(k) investment was the company match. If I contributed 3%, my company (at the time) would contribute another 3%, which would double my investment immediately! I barely noticed a difference in my paycheck and I knew that it would serve me well 40 years from now.

    • Oh, and Nancy, I will attempt to answer your all important question, “How much is enough” in a future article. Thanks for reading and thanks for the awesome comment!

  4. I’d love to see an article on “how much is enough” (for retirement) and hear everyone’s input.
    One reason “professionals” may not start saving for retirement right away is because they are drowning in student loan debt.

    • Sounds like a good challenge. I accept! You’ll most likely see it coming next week. Thanks for the comment Jim.

  5. NUmber #1 definitely applies to me, I am still contributing $55 a month to retirement… whic is better than nothing but it’s slow. I’m working on cutting my spending and looking for new jobs but with the cut in income it remains hard.

    • At least you are contributing something. I know it seems slow, but that $55 a month will definitely be beneficial in the distant future!

  6. Never had any of those issues, so we’ve been maxing our 401(k)s, Roths, and adding to taxable investments since day one of career employment. We are also nearing $200k in 529 savings for our son, so we are probably good there, too. My feeling is that if people are having any of the issues you’ve listed, they should probably make changes to earn more and spend less.

    • Have you ever spent money unwisely Bryce? Do you ever throw caution to the wind?

  7. One of the biggest things I do, is kick myself every time I think about the fact that instead of investing $5 or more every single paycheck, I chose to believe the lie that is often told about “you have to have a lot of money to invest”, or “you have to have $2,500 in the account to invest”.
    At this point in my life, I refuse to NOT put money aside for my future since I’ve only got about 15 more years before I really, really want to make sure that I will retire and do things at my own pace and on my own time. I am very gracious and proud to say that the company I work for pays dollar-for-dollar on up to 4% of my contributions as a match.
    Heck, even at $5/week, that’s still $260/year that you can put aside for your future. Start that when you cut grass as a kid in the neighborhood or babysitting money, or selling some of your old toys.

    • Very true Chris. For anyone that has a match, I would tell them to absolutely contribute. Even by putting in a very small amount each week/month, the total really begins to gain momentum after a few years. Interest is an amazing thing!

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