Survey: Most Americans dip into savings

PROVIDENCE – More than half of the 1,029 Americans who answered a recent online survey admitted to tapping into their retirement savings account early.

The survey by LendingTree, a popular online lending marketplace, found that 52% tapped into their savings, primarily to pay their bills and other important expenses.

Overall, 23% said they used savings to pay off debt; 17% did it to put a down payment on a house; 11% did it to help pay college tuition; 9% did it to cover medical expenses; and 3% did it for various other reasons.

In addition, 27% of the respondents said they haven’t thought about how much money they’ll need in retirement.

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“Although the housing market appears to be cooling off compared to just a few years ago, a down payment on a home still requires a significant chunk of change – experts recommend a down payment equaling 20% of the total mortgage to optimize your mortgage payments,” LendingTree said in a statement on the survey results.

“Personal debt, from credit cards to student loans, remains a fixture of everyday economic reality for millions of Americans,” the website added. “In other words, the stressors that cause workers to raid their retirement funds don’t look like they will decrease appreciably in the foreseeable future.”

The survey found that 35% of respondents are not currently saving for retirement in any way. Among those who are saving, 37% said they started at age 30 or older, and 12% said they started at age 40 or older.

It also found that nearly 20% of respondents don’t contribute enough to their employer-sponsored retirement account to get the maximum company match.

In addition, 42% said they withdrew their entire balance from an employer-sponsored retirement plan when changing jobs without rolling it over into a new account – and nearly 15% said they have done that more than once.

The full survey can be found at:

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at