Here’s the Ugly Truth About How Much We Save for Retirement

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Scared retiree
Giulio_Fornasar /

By and large, Americans of all ages believe they are building healthy nest eggs that will support them through a long retirement.

In fact, 60% of all workers say they are piling up savings adequate to last through their golden years, according to the 20th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers.

But the actual numbers suggest something different.

The median-sized nest egg for baby boomers is a relatively paltry $144,000, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. The median is defined as approximately the midpoint of the range in a given category.

That means a lot of baby boomers are going to take that $144,000 — or less — and combine it with Social Security in hopes of financing what is likely to be two decades or more of retirement.

By contrast, many professional planners suggest having something in the neighborhood of $1 million if you plan to live comfortably in retirement.

The savings numbers aren’t much better for younger folks. They have had less time to accumulate wealth, of course, but they still appear to be way behind the curve.

The median savings by age cohort are:

  • Baby boomers: $144,000
  • Generation X: $64,000
  • Millennials: $23,000
  • All workers: $50,000

Despite those worrisome totals, 70% of workers are either “somewhat” or “very” confident that they will be able to fully retire “with a comfortable lifestyle,” Transamerica found. And the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has done little to dampen that enthusiasm.

How to save more for retirement

Failing to save for retirement is bad. But being in denial about that fact is far worse.

Denial keeps you stuck in a losing strategy. Admit the truth — no matter how much it hurts — and you can change course before it is too late.

If the numbers above reflect your own personal reality, it’s time to take charge of your situation and make some changes. One of the best places to start is with an article written by Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson: “Your Top 5 Retirement Questions, Answered.”

In this article, Stacy tackles five key questions we all need to answer:

  1. How much do I need?
  2. How should I invest before and after retirement?
  3. When should I start taking Social Security?
  4. Should I pay off my mortgage before retirement?
  5. What is an annuity and should I buy one?

Once you have answers to these questions, it’s time to get serious. Enroll in our retirement course, and you’ll get a 14-week boot camp with everything you need to plan the rest of your life, know you’ll have enough and make your retirement dreams a reality.

The course is intended for those who are 45 or older, but even younger folks can benefit from the wisdom to be gleaned from these lessons. The earlier you understand the lay of the land, the sooner you can start saving. And starting to save earlier makes everything so much easier down the road.

For more on the course, check out “The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need.”

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