Lack of Access Is a Crucial Factor to Preventing Retirement Savings

Saving Behavior driven by access Black Rock

BlackRock and Human Interest have found that a primary reason lower income workers are not saving for the future1 is because they do not have access to intuitive and automated savings tools, not because they do not want to or cannot afford to.

In 2017, a Federal Reserve report found that 40% of Americans couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense.2 Several years later, that figure remains relatively unchanged at 37% - and for people living on low-to-moderate incomes, it’s 58%.3 Certainly, it’s hard to save for tomorrow if you’re worried about making ends meet today. But, when workers are provided access to the right savings tools and opportunities, the outlook can change.

Over the past four years, BlackRock’s philanthropic Emergency Savings Initiative ran 43 financial security studies and pilot programs, created specifically with the goal of reaching low-to-moderate income households across the United States. Looking across these projects, it’s clear that, when people have access to savings programs, they are empowered to set aside money for the future.

Human Interest data supports this. When workers are provided access to retirement tools, Human Interest has found the rates at which people are saving are higher than may have been previously thought possible - especially among lower income levels. Workers on Human Interest’s platform who are earning less than $60,000 annually save 7.4%4 of their income, compared to 0.9% savings rate5 for those without access to a retirement benefit.

The difference in financial security between workers with and without access to a retirement benefit is stark (Figure 1). With an average savings rate of 7.4% at Human Interest, a median income worker on Human Interest’s platform6 may be able to save $710,900 by the time they reach 65. By contrast, a median income worker without access to a retirement benefit and saving only 0.9% may have a $86,500 nest egg, which is $624,400 (or about eight times) less than their Human Interest counterpart in retirement.

Access to the right tools creates the opportunity for financial security