ETFs And Retirement: You're Not Saving Enough

by: Tom Lydon

According to a recent study by LIMRA, about half of the United States is not saving for retirement at all. The 49% who aren't contributing to any retirement plan need an investment strategy and discipline to help them. Can exchange traded funds help?

"The findings from this survey were disturbing, given that people will increasingly need to rely on their personal savings to make ends meet in retirement," Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director at LIMRA's retirement research division said.

What's more, people ages 18-34 are the least likely to save, with about 54% of the 2,697 U.S. citizens that were surveyed not contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, reports Blake Ellis for CNN Money.

"In order to have the adequate savings necessary to meet their financial needs in retirement - which could last 20 or more years - it is critical that these individuals begin saving systematically early in their working years," Drinkwater said.

Furthermore, investors that did plan for retirement and have a portfolio aren't that much better off these days. Investors that put capital into a broad-based large-cap benchmark like the Standard and Poor 500 to grow their retirement savings most likely have not seen their portfolios budge.

Nevertheless, a strict investment disciple is necessary for those that are going to get into the market. A strategy with a goal in mind can also help investors plan a portfolio. Resolve to stick to your discipline. One way to avoid pulling every last hair out of your head in frustration over the uncertainty is to have a plan and adhere to it no matter what.

Currently, Charles Schwab is working on a 401(k) retirement plan that is ETF-based. An all-ETF portfolio for retirement can be ideal, due to the low cost nature of the funds and the added transparency.

As of right now, most 401(k) investors can buy ETFs if their plan has a brokerage option. Around 38% of plans have this option, but only about 2.4% of investors participate in the choice, Jeanne Thompson, vice president of retirement insights at Fidelity mentioned. There is no time like the present to begin planning for the future.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.