Decline slows, but U.S. still waiting for household savings increase

The steady decline in key household savings indicators — including retirement savings — in recent years slowed to a less than two-percentage-point drop from February 2012 to February 2013 compared to a seven-percentage-point drop from 2010 to 2012, according to the America Saves survey.

“The best news is that over the past year there was no significant decline,” Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America and a founder of the America Saves campaign, said on a news conference call. “It's not great news because what we'd like to see is an uptick in those percentages.”

Savings rates were also better for people who have already started saving, and who have access to employer-based retirement programs.

“They are doing significantly better than those who do not,” said Dallas Salisbury, chairman of the American Savings Education Council, and president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The survey was released Monday to launch America Saves Week, an annual event for which government, business and non-profit organizations at the national, state and local levels work together to promote good savings behavior. The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp. International in early February, took a representative sample of 1,008 adult Americans using split-sample (landline and cell) phone interviews. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.