America's retirement prospects in doubt

 People without a plan
In fact, most people don't have any idea about how much money they would need to retire.

"Basically most people haven't figured it out," says Certified Financial Planner Joseph Birkofer, principal at Legacy Asset Management in Houston. "A third of people have not and almost a third had used a financial adviser. But you could restate it by saying that two-thirds of people either don't have a clue, threw a dart or asked a friend or relative."

Correlation between retirement expectations and planning
TotalMore than enough to retire in comfortJust enough to get by in retirementNot nearly enough to retire without worryingYou're afraid you'll never be able to retire
You haven't figured out how much you'll need37%26%32%40%59%
You used a financial adviser to determine how much you'll need27%38%27%29%12%
You took a wild guess15%14%14%13%18%
You used a retirement calculator12%13%18%13%0.5%
You asked a friend or relative10%11%13%8%7%

Among those who expect to be retiring with plenty of money to be comfortable, 26 percent have not made any attempt to find out how much money they would actually need.

"I think that is very consistent with what I have seen," says Munnell. "You say, well are you confident about retirement and they say, 'yes.' And then you ask, well have you figured out how much you need? And they say, 'no.'"

"Most people tend to be more confident than they should be," she says.

On the other hand, of the one-fifth of Americans who believe they will never be able to retire, nearly 60 percent haven't figured out how much they might need to do so.


"The old saying is that, you can't get to where you want to go if you don't know where you're going," says James Parks, Certified Financial Planner and member of the Financial Planning Association.

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