No Shocker Here: Americans Still Are Behind in Retirement Planning

by Marc Bastow | March 20, 2013 12:55 pm

Tack on yet another study pointing to doom and gloom for future retirees. According to data released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a vast majority of respondents to a recent survey are concerned that they won’t be able to afford to retire comfortably[1].

The headline is backed up by bullet points and data points galore, so definitely take a look, but I want to cut to a few highlights:

The institute surveyed 1,254 individuals (1,003 workers and 251 retirees) ages 25 and older to obtain what is termed a representative cross section of the U.S. population. I am no statistician, but I just can’t imagine 1,254 individuals is a perfectly representative population.

Nonetheless, the outcome echoes what we hear nearly everywhere else — not enough people are saving for retirement, with many of those simply unable to find a way to consistently do so. Savings and investment plans are a function of cash flow, and with people worried about their next paycheck or unexpected expense, the ability to save runs right into a wall.

Worse, there’s no quick fix to the broader problem — if you’re in the situation already, short of vastly improving your own financial situation, you’ll have to stick to the small things. Keep expenses low, focus on income investments, see what you can cut out of your everyday budget without it significantly affecting your life.

But perhaps most important, remember that millions of Americans are living comfortably in retirement, and not all of them got there by winning the lottery. A comfortable retirement, while a difficult achievement, isn’t impossible.

Hopefully, we’ll see more of those people the next time around.

Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at

  1. are concerned that they won’t be able to afford to retire comfortably:

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