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Do we have a retirement saving crisis?

by retirebyforty on August 19, 2013 · 65 comments

in retirement, saving

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Do we have a retirement saving crisis? The retirement financial guys certainly think so. The National Institute on Retirement Security recently released a study that shows we are in bad shape. Retirement saving is dangerously low especially for folks without retirement accounts. Let’s take a look at the data.

Do we have a retirement saving crisis?

Wow, we’re officially in crisis mode. The near retirement households are going to be in serious trouble in actual retirement. The median retirement account balance for people 55-64 (who has retirement accounts) is only $100,000. That might sound like a lot of money, but it could be gone in just a few years. What about those folks without retirement accounts? Their median balance is just $12,000. That’s not even close to being enough for one year of retirement.  If you have only $12,000 saved up at 64, then you are going to be in for a very frugal retirement.

It’s a tough situation for the working class. When you’re not making a lot of money, saving for retirement is put on the back burner. I remember when my family immigrated to the US. My parents barely made enough money to pay the bills and they couldn’t save any money for a long time. Today, they don’t have a lot of retirement saving, but their expense is pretty low so it’s not too bad. My dad is still making money from his rental condos and day trading, so they are doing fine for now. They also live in Thailand so their expense is a magnitude lower than here in the US.

The key research findings are as follows: (from NIRS’s website)

  • Account ownership rates are closely correlated with income and wealth. More than 38 million working-age households (45 percent) do not own any retirement account assets, whether in an employer-sponsored 401(k) type plan or an IRA. Households that do own retirement accounts have significantly higher income and wealth—more than double the income and five times the non-retirement assets—than households that do not own a retirement account.
  • The average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included— not just households with retirement accounts—the median retirement account balance is $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households. Two-thirds of working households age 55-64 with at least one earner have retirement savings less than one times their annual income, which is far below what they will need to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
  • The collective retirement savings gap among working households age 25-64 ranges from $6.8 to $14 trillion, depending on the financial measure. A large majority of households fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67. Based on retirement account assets, 92 percent of working households do not meet targets. Under broader measures, most households still have insufficient assets: 90 percent fall short based on retirement account balances and estimated DB pension assets combined, 84 percent fall short based on total financial assets, and 65 percent fall short based on net worth.

All right, so we see that the average household isn’t doing very well in the retirement saving department. However, I’m sure that anyone who is reading Retire by 40 is way above average. All you need to do is max out your 401k and Roth IRA contribution for a few years and you’ll be way above average for your age range. That’s easy to say, but not everyone can do this.

What if you really can’t save for retirement?

Of course, it would be much better if you stashed away a million dollars in your retirement account, but many of us can’t do that. I’m not convinced it’s the end of the world. People all over the world retired with much less than $100,000 saved. Let’s brainstorm a bit and see what alternatives there are.

  • Make money doing something you enjoy – If you can make money doing something that you enjoy, then you probably don’t need as much retirement saving. You can keep doing what you like and you’ll have some income to cover the expenses. Ideally, this should be self employment so nobody can fire you.
  • Build up multiple streams of income – Some people don’t have much money in their retirement accounts, but they have other ways to generate income. Rental properties, dividend stocks, and peer to peer lending are just a few ways to generate some income. There are also many other part time gigs such as house sitting, dog walking, mystery shopping, and blogging that could make some money when you have more time.
  • Drastic cost cutting – This is a great option that most Americans rule out. You can have a great retirement in South America or Southeast Asia with a very modest budget. In fact, I plan to do just this when Mrs. RB40 quits her job. We can explore new cultures and scenery while saving money. This is 15 years out though so we’ll see if it pans out.
  • Leverage your family – If you can’t count on family, who could you count on? Raise your kids with family values in mind and you can count on them to help you out when you’re older. Combing households is a great way to save money for everyone and it’s also really nice for kids to know their grandparents better.

So yes, we do have a crisis on our hands, but by good planning and taking steps toward saving, you can put away more for retirement. However, if you’re older and behind on your saving goals, then you may have to be more flexible and think creatively.

What would you do if you’re 65 with only $12,000 saved? 

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your budget and net worth. It can help you keep track of your income, expenses, and net worth, all in one place. Personal Capital is geared for investors and has many great tools. See my review of Personal Capital and how they helped me reduce what I’m paying in investment fees.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly@ClubThrifty August 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

I know so many people who just say that they’re going to “work until they die.” Some of these people are older, in their 50′s, and others are my age- in their mid 30′s. I have one friend who actually believes that the world is going to end before retirement so she uses that as an excuse to skip her work’s 401K plan!

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:12 am

That’s crazy. They should get together with older folks (65+) and see how they feel about working until they die.
Situation changes and we need to be prepared.

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The Warrior August 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

If this doesn’t slap all of us across the face and bring us to reality, what truly will. The sad part is that even if we completely doubled these averages, it would still be practically nothing.

Now, I can’t go out and completely fingerpoint myself. We are far behind where we need to be but we are on a path.

This scares the hell out of me because this is exactly the position my parents have found themselves in. I have no idea what they are going to do in the next few years and unfortunately, I don’t think they know either.

The Warrior
NetWorthWarrior.com

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

I hope you get caught up soon. At least you realize you need to save. It’s a tough situation to have very little money when you’re old.

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The Warrior August 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

It’s all a work in progress. I definitely am in a better position mentally these days than my early 20′s.

I’ve learned that it’s not a battle unless you make it such. I work WITH my finances to try and grow them.

On our way…. ;)

The Warrior
NetWorthWarrior.com

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cj August 19, 2013 at 5:55 am

RB40! Love the first bullet point regarding what we’d do with only $12,000 at 65. Tammy and I have cultivated several interests over the years that we could enjoy in retirement and make some money. Sure, we will have our fair share of R&R, but doing what we love and what we are good at to make money after 65 will hopefully keep us feeling a little younger;)

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

That’s at the forefront of my plan too. It’s better to have an active retirement and make a little money working on something you like.

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Mom @ Three is Plenty August 19, 2013 at 6:22 am

If I only had $12,000 saved, we’d make it 2-3 months with our current expenses, 5-6 months if we weren’t paying our mortgage. I don’t think that many people even think about retirement until they are almost there. Others still have the expectation that “the company will take care of me”. I have many family members who are “blue collar” workers in the steel industry – they’re expecting the union to keep their pensions going so that they can retire – not a single one of them has a direct contribution account.

Also, it’s hard to encourage someone barely surviving on what they’re making to put some of it aside for later – many need it “now”, and will deal with “later” when it comes.

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

I think most people just deal with the reduced budget and live a much more modest lifestyle. They just have to do it when they have no choice. Pension is good, but many of them are running into financial trouble. They need to have some kind of back up plan…

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JT August 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

I simply won’t be in the boat of only having $12,000 saved for retirement so I haven’t thought about it. Needless to say, I would have to live off social security and whatever else I could do to raise money. Clearly, there is a crisis and people aren’t planning for the future.

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:17 am

I can’t imagine having only $12,000 saved up. That will be gone very quickly no matter how frugal you are. Depending on social security will be tough too for people our age.

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Jared August 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

These charts are just retirement savings accounts, right? What about non-retirement assets? And Social Security?

Things look pretty dire, but this is also only one piece of the puzzle.

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:18 am

From what I understand these are saving that are targeted toward retirement. So saving accounts, etc…
They are not looking at social security. When they use net worth, less people are in trouble, but it’s still pretty bad.

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No Waste August 19, 2013 at 7:33 am

The simple solution is cost-cutting.

Your thorough breakdown is exactly why I believe SS and Medicare will ALWAYS be there and fully funded, too.

The Government recognizes what a crisis it would be to have such a large population of broke and destitute folks living out their years at or near poverty levels.

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

There are many things that can go wrong with SS. They will probably delay the benefit age at least. I really hope Medicare will always be there too.

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C. the Romanian August 19, 2013 at 8:00 am

I have one friend who spends everything he owns (he really has absolutely NO money saved on a pretty decent salary) because he claims he’s still young and needs to have fun, that you never know what will happen and if he lives to reach the retirement age he’ll figure something out. That’s his plan and I am sure that many people think like this, without knowing that “I’ll figure something out” is similar to “I’m doomed”.

Personally, I am not that much into saving for retirement either but you have to be ready. You never know if you’re about to become the world’s oldest person alive and in that case you really need a good sum saved up!

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:21 am

I hope your friend wake up soon and not when he’s 60. It’ll be even more difficult to save when you’re used to an extravagant lifestyle.

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Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia August 19, 2013 at 8:31 am

I think it’s not only the fact that some households don’t make enough to save for retirement, but also a mindset that some folks just don’t think or worry about it. In other words, “out of sight, out of mind.” They’ve got their current day problems to deal with and they’ll cross the retirement bridge when they get there. Also, not to get political here, but maybe people have the expectations that they’ll be taken care of when they get to retirement…sort of the welfare nation thought process.

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

I think you’re right. People just don’t plan ahead very well. Those people are in for a rude awakening. Social security payments are pretty low and it’s just enough for the necessities. It’ll be tough to maintain their lifestyle with SS alone.

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Corey August 19, 2013 at 9:04 am

WOW! I guess a lot of people are going to be working an extra 20-30 years. I’m hoping to have more than $100k in my retirement accounts as close to age 30 as possible. I can’t imagine being 55-64 and have only 100k for retirement (not to mention 12k). Ouch!

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retirebyforty August 19, 2013 at 9:24 am

12k is very low. It’s tough for the working class family…

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Financial Samurai August 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

I just don’t believe these fear mongering charts and statistics. I bet the authors of these statistics are doing WAY better. I bet all of us are doing way better. Sure there are some with only $12,000 at age 65, or $100,000 saved… but they aren’t dying on the streets left and right. They are making things happen. Which means to me there is much more wealth out there than people know.

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nicoleandmaggie August 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

Well, currently we’re not in crisis because higher earners still have DB pensions and lower earners were always going to have Social Security replace a larger portion of their income anyway. As people with unfunded DC pensions start thinking about retirement, we’re going to start to see a problem, especially as SS benefits will be eroded at the same time because we haven’t been shoring those trust funds up like we should either. On top of that, SSDI and SSI are already starting to see some of the fall-out from this lack of precautionary savings. That’s putting more stress on government systems.

Most people are going to be working longer than 65. We worry about the ones who can no longer work.

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Dave August 19, 2013 at 11:21 am

I do believe them, although how accurate they are, I don’t know. I know my sister and her husband who are in their early 30s have basically $0 in their retirement accounts and very little savings, then my parents who are mid 50′s only have about $150K in their 401k……….

My wife and me probably could live off $12,000 for over a year assuming our mortgages are paid off because we have a rental property and our side income, especially if the kid is grown up and taking care of himself.

Unfortunately I think more and more people expecting help will increase as more and more jobs become automated, a example, cars and trucks that drive themselves alone will put how many truckers out of a job but on the plus side, we’d have even more free time.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

I’m sure all the readers here are doing way better. I’m not sure about the blue collar workers though. It’s difficult when you don’t make much money.

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awakeinwa January 24, 2014 at 3:20 am

I concur. I took econometrics and economic statistics in uni which immunizes me from such disbelief – too many people conflate the self-selected crowd they hang out with with the general population at large, which is the ultimate mistake to make. Whether it’s your crew or Mitt Romney believing “real Americans” are undercounted by polls, not believing statistics just because is more heat than light.

One measure that most people without amnesia can agree to is that the average wage is flat for the past two decades, especially when you net out inflation. Income inequality is the singular reason why most families have not had any saving and investing opportunities. Sure if you worked in finance or tech, you didn’t really see it because your pay scale was 100k+; the pay regardless was still flat over time. It’s just the IPO and stock options and deflationary environment (now 1.2%) masked that fact.

Whether you’re a tech or sweat laborer, the fact of matter is most people have to cut costs hard AND invest aggressively diligently for a safe retirement, especially if you never had 100k+ income levels anytime in your life.

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Kurt @ Money Counselor August 19, 2013 at 11:11 am

The overall retirement landscape sure does look ominous. If I were 65 and had only $12,000 saved, I’d expect and plan to keep working at something until death or debilitating health problems, and I’d do everything possible to cut my expenses to the absolute minimum. And I’d stay on good terms with my kids. :-)

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

Yeah, staying on good term with the kids is the original retirement plan. :)

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MonicaOnMoney August 19, 2013 at 11:25 am

Wow, I’d just keep working if I couldn’t retire. There aren’t many other options except to depend on other for surival.

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Pretired Nick August 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

What people don’t realize is that the broke baby boomers are going to be such a large political force that this will actually affect everyone. They will be able to vote in large social security and other safety net increases that everyone else will pay for. Once again the baby boomers will be rewarded for their irresponsibility. This has actually already happened to some extent with age increases and other benefit cuts being only allowed for GenXers on down. Look for that to continue.

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jim August 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

pretired nick – get a grip. if any group has been screwed with “no more pensions” and reduced medicare and increased medical expenses – it’s been the boomers – not your generation. The boomers put your generation thru school at (mostly) their expense and then let you move back home (again at the boomers expense) until your generation finally figured out that there was nothing beneath your college educated asses about throwing papers or delivering pizzas, which the boomers did in spades to set an example for your oh so spoiled generation. Oh, and then when your generation came running back to mommy & daddy ’cause now you’ve got a baby – ha! It was the grandparents (boomers) who once again footed that bill.

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Schwamie October 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Jim, I hate to say this, but I actually provided a house for my mother while paying my own way through college while working two jobs and ROTC. I had moved out from my family at 20 and joined the military. I have paid for everything myself and did not need “mommy and daddy” to hold my hand. I have poured most of my income into paying off my mortgage (which should be done in the next 2.5 years) and have saved over $200k in my 401k accounts (since I’m not counting on SS or non-existant pensions). I have a resume that covers three pages as I have never been lucky enough to get a job with a company that would keep me for life. I would not call myself “spoiled” and yes, I’m a Gen Xer.

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John S @ Frugal Rules August 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Wow, just wow! I saw this every day in my previous job and it’s sad indeed. It’s easy to say that you’d work til you die (though you really can’t count on that) and I do not want that at all whatsoever. I think I’d start robbing banks if I had only $12k saved at 65!;)

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

Robbing banks is going to be tough at 65. It’s going to be hard to run away quickly. :)

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Jamin August 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

So basically the average person is just trusting Uncle Sam and social security to fund their retirement. Based on the latest SSA stats, the average annual payment is $14,760 per year. Not a comfortable retirement… and not to mention that you are defaulting to the U.S. government’s skill in managing the program.

That being said, I do agree that this probably drastically vastly overstates the issue to grab headlines. As Sam said above… not a lot of folks are dropping like flies when they retire with “no” savings.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:49 am

It’s just going to be a very tight retirement if you solely depend on SSA. People just learn to adapt and keep working longer. Doesn’t sound like much fun.

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Andrew@LivingRichCheaply August 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

$12K at 65…I’d definitely have to cut costs and continue working if possible. Moving to a low cost of living country might be tough…I understand the benefits but when you have family/friend ties…it is difficult. (Where do you plan on moving to when Mrs. RB40 quits and what about Baby RB40…I guess he’ll be in college right?). I like the leveraging family idea…I’m Asian and that is something that is culturally different with Americans where they don’t live together to save on costs. Well I don’t do the whole living together thing now but we lived with extended family growing up. And yes, I do help out my parents…hey, they made plenty of sacrifices raising me…I have an obligation!

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bill August 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

Not really an obligation. You didn’t ask to be brought into this world. Your first priority should be to your family

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Andrew@LivingRichCheaply August 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

You’re right. Yea I could have used a better word than obligation, and my parents don’t necessarily ask for financial help. However, they made a lot of sacrifices as immigrants to provide a better life for their children. They continue to live frugally and I like to help them out a little because I think they deserve it.

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Savvy Financial Latina February 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I’m with Andrew on this. My parents were immigrants to this country and they made a lot of sacrifices. I try to help where I can, and I’m hoping I can help my mom more in the future, as we become more financially secure.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

I want to live in Thailand for a few years, then South America for a few years. Maybe Chile or some place nice that doesn’t cost too much.

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Rene January 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Sorry, but you cannnot just start living where you want. There are immigration laws in those countries, you know…

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retirebyforty January 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

It’s easy to live on tourist visa. Most countries allow you to stay for 3 months and some countries have retirement visa.

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Mike August 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Pretty scary numbers, and means even more to me since I watched my parents struggle through retirement after years of NOT saving. I saw first hand how difficult life can be when you are elderly with few financial resources. Their issue was they lived a lifestyle they couldn’t really afford when they were working and never saved for retirement. We all need to think about tomorrow, because tomorrow WILL come.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:54 am

Sorry to hear that. It must have been a big adjustment for them. That’s why it’s better to live a little modest lifestyle now so it’ll be an easier adjustment later. Thanks for sharing.

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Done by Forty August 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

This post kind of breaks my heart, a little. I see so little saved and while things might ultimately not be that dire, it hurts to know how unprepared my neighbors and friends really might be.

Still, I imagine a lot of these households might have cable tv, cell phones, etc. If the median household income is $50k, I’d like to think the problem (for some/most) might not be income so much as what we choose to spend it on.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

I agree for the most part. There are just so many things to spend money on these days.

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Bryce @ Save and Conquer August 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

There is still a culture of not talking about one’s finances in the US. People who don’t have enough saved are probably worried, but they go on about their lives the way they always have. People who do have enough saved for retirement typically don’t talk about their finances for fear of being perceived as snobs, or perhaps out of fear of being hit up by their non-saver friends and family.

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Dividend Mantra August 19, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Joe,

Great post here.

You know what they say about statistics, but I still like seeing charts like this. It gives me motivation to keep living below my means, saving and investing the surplus so that I don’t end up in a bad situation like so many other people find themselves in. Not to point fingers, but I do believe that a lot of situations like this are self created. Certainly before I changed my entire life a few years ago I was on the path to $0 in retirement savings. I didn’t have a dime put away for retirement and had a negative net worth just three years ago. Now I’ve got six-figures. You have to want it.

It takes hard work and a desire to want more out of your life once you’re no longer working for a living. And those people who think they’re going to ‘work until they die’ are likely to be sorely disappointed, as one’s health and ability to keep grinding away can be compromised at any time.

Tomorrow isn’t promised, but if tomorrow does come I plan to be in a great spot financially. :)

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thanks for sharing! I think it’s a combination of many factors. A whole bunch of people like spending all their money. A lot of people are not making much and spend all they earn on bills. These all add up to a huge % of people having so little retirement saving. It’s sad.

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jim August 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Oh come on guys – you don’t seriously believe that most people in their late 50′s/60′s only have $12,ooo saved for their retirement do you? I’m calling the b.s. flag. I’m in my mid 50′s – raised and educated 2 kids on our dime, paid for ones wedding and helped with their down payment on their first house, helped tremendously with their little ones’ expenses and are now helping our youngest some with law school). These kids were raised debt-free and they learned how to live that way from their “boomer” parents’ examples. Currently, we’ve got over $1M in assets. By the time we retire in 5-10 years, we’ll be well over the $2M mark – with no debt in the world (other than gratuitously helping our youngest pay off some (minor) law school loans). We’re going to give that to him in lieu of an expensive wedding. We are not the exception – everyone we know is in about the same condition as we are and we only make (jointly) about $150,000 gross – our highest income. Most, if not all, of our friends are in the same, or better, position than we are. I’m throwing down the b.s. flag.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

Really? Why would they lie to us? I think you are in the circle of the haves.
All your friends are in similar positions and it might seem like everyone is doing well. The working class out there are in big trouble. You just don’t know them.
It’s great that you are doing well though. Great job!

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jim August 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

You have $1M and make $150k and apparently everyone you know is in a similar situation?

Most people are not millionaires. Most people do not have 6 figure incomes.

If you think that your situation is typical or common you’re very mistaken.

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[email protected] August 20, 2013 at 1:59 am

Joe,
Although the facts are scary and I do believe Americans don’t save enough that study is funded by the NIRS which is funded by the teacher’s and public sector unions. They want fear mongering because they want everyone to have pensions, so that people don’t get pissed at their benefits.
Let’s say it is true much like Fidelity’s retirement survey it shows Median balance per household. That is what is saved in one account, it doesn’t factor in multiple accounts. The average person will change jobs 10-15 times, if they saved a little in each account that is multiple accounts that are not considered. You also got home equity and social security, people will be OK.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

Ahh… Thanks for the info. I think people will be ok too. They just have to learn to adjust their lifestyle after retirement. That’s a good point about justifying their pension.

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Little House August 20, 2013 at 6:53 am

Many people close to “retirement” won’t be able to retire with such low retirement savings and that’s just the reality. I can’t say that I’m a whole lot better off, but I do have a pension plan and something small started outside of that. And, I know for sure that I’ll be working past the age of 65, probably more like 70. But, hey, by that time the average life expectancy might be pushing 90 and that still gives me 20 years of retirement!

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

I’ll probably be working longer too, but hopefully it’ll be and easy and enjoyable self employment assignment. :)

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wallet engineer #1 August 20, 2013 at 10:11 am

Looks like an astounding amount of people need to take responsibility for their financial choices.

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jim August 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Americans can certainly stand to save more for retirement, thats for sure.

From SCF 2010 : 60% of people 55-64 have retirement accounts. So that means 40% of people do not have a retirement account . The median value for people who DO have accounts is $100k. Then they cite the median value for all families at $12k but that includes the 40% who have no accounts. So what they’re saying is that 40% of people have no account and 10% of people have accounts with under $12k and 50% of people have accounts over $12k. We also know that 30% of people have over $100k.

So that gives us :
no accounts = 40%
under $12k = 10%
between $12k and $100k = 20%
over $100k = 30%

Having 40% of people with no accounts may seem like a problem but this doesn’t consider other assets. These are only retirement accounts and do not include cash, stocks, business ownership, etc. It also doesn’t consider people who have pensions. Retirement accounts are cash balance accounts liek IRA’s and 401ks. A significant amount of people do still have traditional defined benefit pensions. 20% of the entire population is covered by a pension. If you look at people age 65 and over about 30% are currently receiving a pension check. I think its safe to assume that the people age 55-64 are closer to 30% than 20%. That would explain a lot of the 40% of that group who doesn’t have retirement savings.

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Squirrelers August 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

People simply can’t work until they’re super old. It’s wishful thinking and dangerous thinking. Either health will get in the way or you won’t be employable. Sure, there are those rare exceptions we can all point to. But those people who do work late into life are exceptions, not the rule.

Thus, I do think it’s safe to say that we are in a big problem when it comes to retirement in this country! At old age, with only $12k, the only thing I can think of doing would be to get help from my kids. That wouldn’t be a desired course of action, both as a matter of pride as well as not wanting to burden their lives.

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retirebyforty August 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Health will definitely get in the way. I also think most people get tired of working in the same career for a long time. You might love your job now, but you probably won’t love it forever.

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Financial Independence August 22, 2013 at 2:20 am

Here in Australia we have a retirement savings account (superannuation) which is compulsory for employers to contribute 9.25% of gross income to on behalf of employees. While you’d think this is a good thing, it means that way too many people are complacent about their retirement – assuming that superannuation will cover it.

Of course 9.25% per year for 40 years of working is only about 4 years worth of wages – consider 5% compounding growth on average and you’re up to about 10 years of your average salary. Tough luck if you live much longer than that!

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Gina August 23, 2013 at 4:01 am

I am dealing with this with my mother. She is 70 and no savings. She was just diagnosed with auto immune disorder that leaves her unable to work. She was going to work until she died. That was her plan. Throw in the fact that she supports two sons
that she enables.. she has a mess. Neither son works. She will be going to a nursing home that Medicaid pay for. The not nice home. She was already in bankruptcy, payment coming out of paycheck. One brother was/is a drug addict, so we refused to give her money, he would just take it.

My husband and I are benefiting from my obsession with retirement planning.
We are in our 40′s and have 1/3 of our planned goal saved. I just took on an extra job to save even more. It is our priority.

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retirebyforty August 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

I’m so sorry it’s such a mess. At least you are doing well. It’s good that you isolated your finance from the mess too.
Working until you die is a bad idea. You never know what’s going to happen.

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Savvy Financial Latina February 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m making sure we save for our retirement. Want to start early. I will have to help my parents out with retirement. They have no retirement plan. Very typical of immigrants. I’m very much hoping my brother and I will share the cost. So I’m pushing my brother to excel academically and work hard.

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