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2021 SUPER SAVER SURVEY

7 surprising budget trends of retirement super savers

They saved even more during the pandemic. They don't mind old cars and smaller houses. They're starting even younger. Welcome to the everyday earners with enviable retirement accounts.
2021 SUPER SAVER SURVEY
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Super saver trend 1

Super savers span all income levels

Income levels pie chart: 49% >$100k,  15% $75k-99k, 21% $35k-74k, 15% <$34k
Half of survey respondents make less than $100K.
<$34,999

$35K - $74.999

$75K - $99.999

>$100K

<$34,999

$35K - $74.999

$75K - $99.999

>$100K

Young super saver couple lounging together in their home.

Who is a super saver?

Plan participants who save 90%+ each year of the max retirement contributions ($17,550+ in 2020) [61% of respondents] OR participants who defer 15% or more of their salary into retirement accounts [39% of respondents].

Super saver trend 2

Long-term commitments help them maximize savings

Super savers start early and keep at it.

The pandemic didn't change that. (Over half saved even more.)

Findings:

They began saving for retirement in their 20s.

Parents are a big influence.

Their choices feel unremarkable to them.

Super savers have a variety of motivations.

1
Financial security
2
Retirement lifestyle goals
3
Early retirement
4
Unexpected events

Super savers are content with the basics.

1
Older vehicles
2
Reduced travel
3
DIY home chores and projects
4
Modest homes

Super saver trend 3

Their savings confidence and commitment remain high

Super savers saved more during the pandemic.

54% of super savers recommitted during the past 18 months, putting away more thanks to decreased spending and/or stimulus payments.
Invested additional money in the market
31%  
No financial decisions or changes due to COVID-19
28%  
Increased my deferral/savings percentage
on my retirement savings account
22%  
Met with my financial professional regarding
my retirement savings and investment
17%  
Changed my investment allocation stock
to more aggressive investments
15%  
Increased the amount I'm saving in an
individual retirement account (IRA)
12%  
Invested additional money in the market
No financial decisions or changes due to COVID-19
Increased my deferral/savings percentage
on my retirement savings account
Met with my financial professional regarding
my retirement savings and investment
Changed my investment allocation stock
to more aggressive investments
Increased the amount I'm saving in an
individual retirement account (IRA)
31%  
28%  
22%  
17%  
15%  
12%  

Nearly all save for the unexpected

Graphic displaying 91%
have an emergency savings fund
Graphic displaying 73%
have more than $10,000 in emergency savings.
Graphic displaying 56%
have enough to cover 6+ months of expenses.

Super saver trend 4

Super savers are interested in more ways to invest

That may include diverse investment options in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

guaranteed lifetime income options 66%, ETFs 53%, managed accounts 45%, ESG 36%, digital assets 28%guaranteed lifetime income options 66%, ETFs 53%, managed accounts 45%, ESG 36%, digital assets 28% image

Super saver trend 5

Super savers expect to keep working, save more, and have a long retirement

60% work into 60s, 53% retirement savings goal 2M, 46% planning 30+ years in retirement60% work into 60s, 53% retirement savings goal 2M, 46% planning 30+ years in retirement
Pie chart about super savers plans to ease into retirement: 41% phased, 32% fully retired, 15% working in retirement, 11% not sure, 1% Other

Super saver trend 6

Gen Z already has super savers

The youngest super savers are gaining momentum.

They typically defer 15% or more of their salaries.
Super saver pandemic changes

Their pandemic changes included:

Characteristics

Use new technology (phones, computers)

Rely on apps to manage finances, and YouTube and Reddit for financial information

Prioritize adventure and travel

Shop online, do takeout

Saving motivations

Unexpected events

Early retirement

Sacrifices

Live with parents longer or have roommates

Rent vs. purchase a home

Walk, bike, use public transportation

Super saver trend 7

Almost anyone can mimic super saver behaviors

You can:

Live within or below your means.

Pay off your credit card balance monthly or don't use credit cards.

At a minimum, defer enough of your salary to receive the maximum employer match.

Defer at least 10% of your salary to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Increase your retirement deferral rate each year you receive a raise.

Create an emergency savings fund.

Employers can:

Stretch the match: Incentivize participants to increase their contributions.

Create immediate eligibility and vesting.

Add automatic enrollment, increase, and sweep to retirement plans.

Offer more savings options within the sponsored retirement plan.

Provide a way for participants to create an emergency savings fund.

Supply financial wellness education such as life stage planning.

Look at ways to help employees phase into retirement.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY AND RESPONDENTS

Online survey
15-minute survey conducted by Principal

Field dates
July 05, 2021 - July 12, 2021

Super saver respondents
1,408 Retirement plan participants

Margin of error
+/- 2.6% at a 95% level of confidence

Savings behavior
61% contributed $17,550+ to their sponsored retirement plan in 2020.
30% had a deferral percentage of 15%+.

Qualifications
Age 19-56
U.S. resident
Consumer has a retirement plan with Principal

Background
Principal conducts periodic "pulse" surveys with customers to gain insight into timely topics. This annual survey focuses on providing holistic perspectives on key trends and timely issues in today's market and economy.

The survey findings reported here explore consumer concerns and actions surrounding saving and planning for retirement, financial behaviors related to COVID-19.

Important information
The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co., a member of the Principal Financial Group® Des Moines, Iowa 50392.

Principal, Principal and symbol design and Principal Financial Group are trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.

©2021 Principal Financial Services, Inc.

PQ12556K-02 | 09/2021 | 1836861-092021

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The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co., a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.

© 2021 Principal Financial Services, Inc.