Most of us know how important it is to save for retirement and would probably like to save more, but two new surveys released today show that not only are most of us not saving nearly enough, but 8 in 10 say they don't even know where to begin.

Ironically or perhaps on purpose, the separate studies by TIAA-CREF and Bloomberg, arrive just as we begin National Save for Retirement Week.

From the two surveys, here are some of the most interesting findings.

  • 39% or nearly 4 in 10 are not saving for retirement at all (TIAA-CREF)
  • Only 41% of women feel they will have enough money in retirement compared to 48% of men (Bloomberg)
  • 82% admit that they don't know what it takes to save (TIAA-CREF)
  • 65% say they will not be able to retire in the manner they had hoped (TIAA-CREF)

According to the TIAA-CREF survey, more than three-quarters of Americans (78%) rely on themselves to make household financial decisions. However, more than half (55%) say do not really know very much about finance. And while many people report buying things on sale and taking other steps to save money, 85% of those surveyed admit to spending the money they save rather than depositing the savings in a financial account.

For those of you who may not know about TIAA-CREF, it's a financial services firm catering to the academic, research, medical and non-profit fields. So they're obviously hoping this survey will wake a few people up and cause them to seek help.

Good luck with that.

Financial behaviorists have said that getting people to save rather than spend is like getting someone addicted to nicotine to quit smoking. You can talk all you want but you practically have to make it illegal before anyone actually changes behavior. Even then, one could point to prohibition and say keep trying.

The key, according to many financial experts, remains letting people continue to work beyond their traditional retirement years. Now if there were only more jobs to allow this to happen. The fact that we still have 9.6 percent unemployment doesn't help.  

The Bloomberg survey polled likely voters to get their findings. Two out of every three women polled believed they would have to work beyond their target retirement age, while only 4 in 10 men felt the same way.

The poll also reflects that women, who have actually been less impacted by layoffs in the past two years, are more concerned about unemployment. Among women voters, 54 percent say unemployment is the biggest issue facing the U.S., compared with 43 percent of men.

Interestingly, the Bloomberg poll finds that more than half of women likely voters approve of the job President Obama is doing and say the economy will either get worse or stay the same if Republicans win control of the Congress. Men, by a margin of 58 percent to 39 percent, disapprove of Obama's job performance on the economy.

Meanwhile, some women poll respondents admitted that they may sit out the upcoming election because the Democrats haven't lived up to the promise of change that fueled the party's victories in the 2008 campaign. 
Maybe they'd change their minds if candidates could show how they would create more jobs.