These 4 Traits Lead to More Retirement Savings


By Jacob Schroeder
From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

People who wind up with more retirement savings tend to share four behavioral traits, according to a recent survey by Goldman Sachs Asset Management in collaboration with Syntoniq, a behavioral finance research firm.

The survey, “Retirement Mindset Matters,” polled 5,261 workers and retirees. It revealed that individuals who find it easier to prepare for retirement typically exhibit these “optimal” behaviors:


The tendency to expect positive outcomes encourages proactive financial behaviors, like creating personalized financial plans and adapting investments in volatile markets.

According to the survey, respondents with high levels of optimism were more likely to report their retirement savings as on track or ahead of schedule (83 percent), compared to those with low optimism (41 percent). This positive outlook also correlates with lower financial stress.

Younger workers with a higher educational level were more likely to be highly optimistic.

For those inclined toward pessimism, a financial advisor could offer a fresh perspective on the challenges you face. Such “positive reframing” has been shown to help people build psychological resilience.

Future Orientation

People who feel strongly connected to their future selves exhibit a high future orientation, which is akin to envisioning one’s life through a forward-looking lens.

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The research found those with high future orientation are more likely to prioritize retirement planning and engage in prudent spending and savings habits. In fact, 70 percent with high future orientation have a personalized financial plan, compared to only 48 percent of those with low future orientation.

Meanwhile, those less focused on the future are more likely to cash out retirement plans during job changes or dip into emergency savings.

A simpler way to cultivate this mindset is to automate your retirement plan contributions, a strategy that ensures consistent savings and integrates high future orientation into your life.

Reward Focus

The survey divides retirement savers into two groups based on their focus: reward or risk. Reward-focused individuals emphasize goal achievement and gains, while risk-focused ones prioritize security and protection. Reward-focused savers exhibit better retirement preparedness, with 56 percent having retirement savings over $200,000, compared to 38 percent of risk-focused savers.

This disparity is linked to proactive financial behaviors associated with a reward orientation, such as aggressive saving or investing.

You can develop the confidence to become more proactive. A personalized retirement plan can help. Analysis by LIMRA, a financial services trade association, shows that 87 percent of people with a written retirement plan feel confident in achieving their desired retirement lifestyle, in contrast to 70 percent with an informal plan.

Financial Literacy

There’s a clear benefit to financial literacy—understanding financial concepts like compound interest and inflation. The survey found that 56 percent of those with high financial literacy feel comfortable managing retirement savings, compared to 51 percent of those with low literacy. Those more knowledgeable in finances tend to engage in better financial practices, including maintaining emergency funds and controlling spending.

To improve financial literacy, actively seek out and study reliable financial information from trusted sources. Additionally, consider engaging with a financial adviser or taking financial education courses.

(Jacob Schroeder is a contributing writer at For more on this and similar money topics, visit
©2024 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Epoch Times copyright © 2024. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.


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