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Inflation causing some to cut back on retirement savings, ponder cashing out 401(k)

21% of Americans have reduced their retirement savings, survey says
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 18:55:33-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — According to a new study, as inflation continues to soar, more people are cutting back on saving for retirement.

"I'm trying to backtrack what I usually spend when it comes to food and gas," Christelle Mayu from Boca Raton told WPTV.

It's an unfortunate truth these days.

"It's just the inflationary times we live in," Lisa Garbutt, also from Boca Raton, said. "You just have to be careful about how you spend your money."

For Garbutt, one thing she is being forced to do right now to stay afloat is cut back on her savings.

Lisa Garbutt, Boca Raton resident
Lisa Garbutt says she is among the residents who are unable to save as much money as she would like to amid the soaring inflation numbers.

"That's one of the first things you look at. Do you want to preserve everything else you have going on? You look at your savings," she said. "You cut back, and you cut back until you're at zero."

A recent survey by BMO Real Financial Progress Index found that 21% of Americans have reduced their retirement savings because of inflation, and more than 60% of young people say they've had to decrease or stop contributing to their 401(k).

Some people are even considering cashing out their 401(k), which is something experts say is not wise.

"I'd probably look at a different approach to that. Because [if] you cash out, you're going to have a big tax bill," Chuck Czajka, personal finance expert of Macro Money Concepts, said.

Chuck Czajka, personal finance expert of Macro Money Concepts
Chuck Czajka offers financial advice for those facing the impacts of inflation.

He said consumers should try to contribute what they can or take a small break from contributing for a short period of time.

"I'll call it the 401(k) delay move, delay strategy," Czajka said. "You just delay it for a little bit. Now the younger you are, obviously, the more time you're going to have to recoup."

With the national average price of gas now soaring to $5 per gallon and supply chain issues still hiking up the price of pretty much everything right now — experts say it could be months before consumers start to feel some relief.

"It's a strain, especially for my demographic. It’s just, we're trying our best to conserve as much as we can so we can survive," Mayu said.