It’s no secret that Americans are woefully behind on retirement savings. The typical household aged 44 to 49 has just $81,347 socked away, while households between 50 and 55 have an average $124,831 in savings. Near-retirees aren’t doing much better. The average balance among 56- to 61-year-olds is just $163,577.
Furthermore, almost half of American families have no retirement savings at all. Given these rather dire statistics, you’d think more of us would be focused on building our nest eggs to make up for lost time. But sadly, that’s not the case.
In a recent NerdWallet study, Americans were asked to rank their upcoming financial goals, and it turns out more more intent on saving for vacations than they are for retirement.
Specifically, vacations ranked fourth on the public’s list of financial goals, while retirement savings ranked fifth. And while vacations only edged out retirement by a narrow 3% margin, the fact that that happened is pretty shocking in its own right. Then again, maybe it’s not. Americans tend to crave instant gratification, which explains why so many of us carry massive amounts of credit card debt.
Throw in the fact that 39% of the population has absolutely no funds available in immediate savings, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many of us aren’t focused on setting money aside for what could be the very distant future.
That $163,577 will generate about $545 per month in income … maybe.
My generation looks at this and thinks to itself, what fools. Today’s generation thinks; what’s the big deal? A liberal will look at this and conclude; these poor middle class people can’t afford to save. A conservative will think; isn’t it their responsibility to plan their future?
Regardless of your point of view, the likely outcome is a growing retirement crisis, perhaps a distorted workforce with people unable to retire and certainly calls for more government benefits to fill the gap in turn requiring higher taxes and thus lower discretionary income for younger workers.
We need to rethink this whole retirement deal … and time is running out.