If you haven’t started socking cash away for retirement, a new Wells Fargo report might give you some strong incentive to save now.

(Jill Battaglia, ThinkStock)

The study revealed that the younger the American, the more likely it was that he or she started saving early, but even those who did were still panicked about making ends meet when they working days are over.

“Americans in the late 50s have three times as much saved for retirement as working Americans in their 60s, and it seems to be due to the fact that those in their 50s started saving at a much younger age than those in their 60s and so the message from the survey is loud and clear. You need to save early and save consistently,” said Nicole Adler, a Summit, NJ-based wealth planning strategist with Wells Fargo Private Bank.

The median saving for working Americans were:

  • $50,000 against a retirement savings goal of $300,000 for working Americans 60 and older;
  • $150,000 toward a retirement savings goal of $500,000 for working Americans 55-59;
  • Those 60 and over starting saving at 37; and
  • Those 55-59 began saving for retirement at the age of 31.

“Eighty-one percent of workers 40 and older and seven-in-ten retirees said that retirement in America is in a crisis state and even three-quarters of those who said they were consistent savers agreed,” Adler explained.

Older workers have the most retirement anxiety according to the survey.

“Thirty-four percent of workers ages 60-plus believe they would need to win the lottery to survive financially in retirement,” Adler said.

Other retirement concern findings included:

  • One-third of workers age 60-plus believe they will never retire and will work until they die or are too sick to work.
  • Over half (54 percent) of the working 60-plus group said they will work until at least 70.

“I think there are really good lessons from some of the stark data that we got out of this survey,” Adler noted. “For example; get started saving today, get your company match if it’s offered through your company’s 401(k) plan, increase your savings (and) leave your savings alone to the extent that you can.”

The survey was conducted from July 13 to Aug. 10, 2015. On behalf of Wells Fargo, Harris Poll conducted 1,251 telephone interviews of 851 working Americans 40 or older and 400 retired Americans.

Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at kevin.mcardle@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.