MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Retirement Planning - More About the Number

Mark Zaifman   |    Mon, Jul 23, 2012 @ 06:26 PM

retired americans don't have enough money

And now for the bonus round - a few multiple choice questions about Americans and retirement.


  • Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had;

        ___ $300,000 ___ $130,000  ___  $30,000 in their retirement accounts.


  • Forty-nine percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 will be living on a food budget of about;

        ___ $50  ___ $15  ___ $5 per day.


  • To maintain living standards into old age we need roughly;

         ___ 20   ___ 12 ___ 2  times our annual income in financial wealth.


To find the answers, check out the New York Times article titled Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement. written by Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research. She talks about 'the number', and she explains why she feels the present model for retirement savings, which forces individuals to figure out a plan for their retirement years by individual decision making, will always fall short. 

The author also takes on the fantasy of something I have heard ad nauseum - those non-planners who say their retirement plan is to 'work until they die'. She addresses what she calls the do-it-yourself pension system, the failure of the 30 year old 401(k) and IRA model. She talks about those few-and-far-between folks who know their number and are prepared for retirement.

I'm not about instilling fear, but rather encouraging empowerment through knowledge and financial education.  I have to admit, this article is downright chilling - yet if as a country we can come together to work on retirement solutions as Ghilarducci suggests, we will be able to help thousands of people whose golden years are not looking too promising.


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