We spend a lot of time talking about how to save for retirement. We analyze the options. We argue about the methods. We discuss the “how-tos” so often that it should go without saying that it is important to save for retirement, right?
Maybe not. If actions speak louder than words, the fact that the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports more than half of American workers have saved less than $25,000 for retirement virtually screams that we don’t make retirement savings a priority. Most workers don’t even bother to find out what their retirement needs will be!
The truth is, if you ever want to retire, you have to make it happen. No one else is going to support you. There is no Retirement Fairy waiting to leave $3 million under your pillow when you turn 65. You have to do the planning. You have to do the saving.
The average current retiree income is just under $30,000. Social Security makes up 33.7% of that and pensions contribute 21.8%. Given that most Americans believe Social Security will be long gone before they can retire and pensions are fading from the retirement landscape, it is clear that you, the individual, will be responsible for making up the difference.
But research shows that we are not prepared to do that. Nearly half of the people nearing retirement, ages 56–62, are at risk of running short of money to cover basic expenses once they retire. Numbers for younger generations are only slightly better. That means we won’t be choosing between a European vacation or an Alaskan cruise. We’ll be choosing between paying our doctor bills or our electric bills.
The only way to have enough money to maintain your lifestyle and pay your bills in retirement is to have a plan—save and invest!
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