21% of Americans have no retirement savings at all

Reports of Americans feeling underprepared for retirement seem to be an understatement, according to new data.

A report from Northwestern Mutual has found that one in five Americans (21%) have no retirement savings at all.

What’s more, nearly two thirds of people with a savings account or plan are certain their money will run out sooner than they hope, which would leave them, aside from Social Security, penniless.

According to Baby Boomers polled, one in three have $25,000 or less in their retirement saving accounts right now, forcing a majority of them to think about extending their retirement dates. Northwestern Mutual predicts that 38% of Americans will retire at age 70 or older, compared with 33% at the more traditional range of 65 to 69.

"Continuing to work later in life should be a personal choice not a mandatory requirement for survival," Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning at Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement, adding that proactive financial planning can be the difference between “a desired and a default retirement lifestyle."

Barsch said the good news is that it’s never too late to start and that once someone commits to a strategy, a majority of people start seeing positive results right away.