Are you far enough along in your retirement savings?

After making a mortgage payment, chipping away at credit card debt and meeting day-to-day financial obligations, many consumers are too financially drained to make adequate contributions to their retirement accounts. This is especially true in younger generations that may have limited resources and often put off retirement planning.

New data from global trade association LIMRA reveals that 49 percent of Americans are not contributing to a retirement plan. Fifty-six percent of those who are not putting money into retirement are between the ages of 18 and 34.

“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,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director of LIMRA Retirement Research. “It was especially troubling to see that a larger portion of younger Americans – who are less likely to have a defined benefit plan – are not saving for retirement in IRAs or defined contribution plans. 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.”

According to the results, nearly half of all consumers said they did not have enough income to contribute to a retirement plan. In addition, only a quarter of all Americans, and less than a third of those over 50, reported working with a financial professional, such as a credit counselor or advisor, to get their finances on track and plan ahead for retirement.

Building a nest egg is an overlooked priority that many Americans push to the side until they are close to their golden years. However, failing to stockpile adequate savings, investments and other sources of income can result in retirees draining their accounts too early and being forced to rely on credit or loans during their retirement. This can be particularly stressful and make it difficult for adults to enjoy their golden years.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start planning for retirement. Trimming costs significantly to contribute more to savings can help consumers build a cushion. In addition, workers should either be contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or open an individual retirement account with their bank if their employer does not offer a plan. Lastly, carrying debt can be toxic to consumers during retirement, so it’s crucial to work with a credit counselor to employ the best strategies to eliminate their balances.