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If I entertain you, will you save for retirement?
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Another confidence survey
The disconnect between confidence and savings levels is even more pronounced in a survey recently released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Its 16th annual Retirement Confidence Survey, titled "Will more of us work forever?," reveals not only confidence levels, but also actual retirement savings in estimated dollar amounts that polled Americans have accumulated so far. According to the survey:

  • Overall, 52 percent of workers saving for retirement have less than $50,000 saved up for retirement.
  • About a quarter of workers are very confident about their prospects for financial security during retirement. Another 44 percent are somewhat confident.
  • Of those who are very confident, 22 percent are not saving for retirement right now, and 39 percent have less than $50,000 saved up.
  • The survey makes for a fascinating read. Among the predictable findings is, workers who earn more money and have higher education levels also have more assets. Also, older folks have more money than younger folks.

    Take a look at the breakdown of assets by age:

    Reported total savings/investments among polled workers
    (not including value of primary residence or defined benefit plans)
    Savings/investmentsWorker age group
    All workers Age 25-34 Age 35-44 Age 45-54 Age 55+
    less than $10,000
    $10,000 to $24,999
    $25,000 to $49,999
    $50,000 to $99,999
    $100,000 to $149,999
    $150,000 to $249,999
    $250,000 to $499,999
    $500,000 or more
    Source: EBRI and Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc., 2006 Retirement Confidence Survey

    Boomers are technically the 42- to 60-year-old demographic, but if you look at the 45- to 54-year-old segment, a microcosm of the boomer universe, an alarming number -- 58 percent -- have less than $50,000 saved up. Only about one-third of boomers have $100,000 or more.

    I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but even $100,000 is hardly enough to sustain anyone for any length of time if no other source of income exists. A 65-year-old purchasing an immediate-fixed annuity for $100,000 today could expect to get an annual income, guaranteed for life, of between $6,800 and $7,400, depending on the type of annuity selected. If you're accustomed to living on ten times that amount, you'll need to have $1,000,000 at retirement. (Figure it out at

    Oh, oops. Let's not get stressed out about finances. Instead, let's fast-forward 15 years and tune into the tale of Sam and Charlie, as told by Sam. These guys knew each other since high school, went off in different directions, but wound up under the same viaduct in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

    Tale of a peripatetic idealist
    "I worry about Charlie. He hasn't said a word since 2019, when the government cut Social Security benefits by 50 percent in its so-called drive for fiscal solvency. I knew that would happen. Heck, I saw it coming 20 years ago.

    Next: "A regular roadside Picasso"
    Page | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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