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Retirement reality check
Expert Henry "Bud" Hebeler explains why Americans must clamp down on profligate spending.
Securing retirement

Spotlight: Bud Hebeler

Henry "Bud" K. Hebeler says that if we expect to reach our financial retirement goals, we're going to have to put the kibosh on extraneous spending and make savings a priority in our lives.

At a glance

It seems simple enough, but for many Americans, giving up flat-screen TVs, luxury vehicles and the penchant for dining out is about as palatable as swallowing a spoonful of castor oil.

For those of us who have moved retirement planning to the back burner, Hebeler's back-to-basics advice is propped up by stark figures on American saving habits.

Forty-nine percent of workers report savings and investments of less than $50,000 (not including the value of a home or a traditional pension plan). And 22 percent of workers and 28 percent of retirees report no savings whatsoever, according to a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI.

Hebeler says all Americans should become self-educated about retirement issues, even if they have a financial planner.

The former president of Boeing Co. and ballistic missile engineer didn't pick up the financial planning bug until he was 55 and considering his own retirement future.

He says that although he adequately planned for his retirement, he became inquisitive about the nuts and bolts of financial planning and started attending seminars and taking classes.

Seventeen years later, Hebeler shares sage advice on retirement planning with Bankrate readers.

-- Posted: June 23, 2008
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