Cost of retirement

Tallying the costs of life's big events


If you're like most Americans, as much as you look forward to enjoying your retirement, you're also worried about how you're going to pay for it.

In the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, only 14 percent of workers said they feel "very confident" about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Twenty-six percent were very confident about being able to pay for basic living expenses, 13 percent very confident about paying for medical expenses and 9 percent very confident about paying for long-term care.

Among survey participants who are already retired, 21 percent said they were very confident about being able to afford a comfortable retirement. But that group was only slightly larger than the 19 percent who said they were "not at all confident."

Thirty-five percent of workers think they need to save at least $500,000 by retirement to live comfortably, while 34 percent think they need to save less than $250,000, according to that survey. Those who have done an assessment using a tool such as's retirement calculator, How much to retire?, tend to think they need more money.

Of course, the actual amount needed to sustain oneself for two to four decades in retirement depends on individual lifestyles and health care needs.



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