When it comes to saving, today's young Americans see themselves as more ant than grasshopper.
That's the conclusion of a new survey from America Saves, a nonprofit organization that asked more than 1,000 Americans about their personal saving goals between Sept. 19 and 22. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 placed more value on pinching pennies than any other age group, with 77% expressing an interest in saving and 66% saying they had made an effort to set aside funds.
The experience of living through the Great Recession at an early age as well as concerns about the future of Social Security may have shaped young people's frugal-minded outlook, the survey suggests.
Americans' interest in saving dwindles with age, according to the survey. Among those between the ages of 35 and 44, 73% wanted to save and 61% made an effort to do so. Saving held the least appeal for respondents ages 65 and older, with just 56% expressing an interest and 53% attempting to put away money.
All generations had one thing in common: Their interest in saving outweighed their efforts to sock away cash. Overall, 71% of said they were interested in saving, while 62% said they tried to save. Just 58% said they were effective at saving.
"Our new savings index measures the perceptions of savers, not the actual reality of savings," Stephen Brobeck, a founder of America Saves, said in a press release Monday. "However, these personal perceptions strongly influence saving realities as well as satisfaction with these realities."
The survey also found that people's efforts to save increased in direct proportion to their income. Among respondents with a household income over $100,000 a year, 83% reported an interest in saving, 75% tried to save, and 69% rated themselves as effective at saving. At the other end of the spectrum, among people with household incomes under $25,000, 65% said they were interested in saving, 52% said they tried to do so, and 46% said they were successful.
America Saves is a nonprofit research initiative that aims to encourage low- and middle-income Americans to save. It is managed by the Consumer Federation of America.