Retirement Basics
An egg and money in a bird's nest with at $1 bill in the background
retirement
Why save for retirement?

Some of us dream about traveling. Others look forward to reading books, visiting grandkids and tending to gardens. But there's one thing that unites our respective retirement dreams: the need for money.

How much? As a general rule, financial experts recommend individuals amass enough to replace at least 70 percent of their pre-retirement income once they retire. For someone who makes $50,000 per year, that's $35,000.

Others push that figure higher. When the Employee Benefit Research Institute polled retirees, 55 percent of them said they needed an annual income equivalent to 95 percent of their pre-retirement earnings.

If you expect money to come from Uncle Sam, you're in for a disappointment. These days, Social Security typically replaces 40 percent of workers' pre-retirement income, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonpartisan policy group.

Tools for retirement planning

That means it's up to you to save. Even if you intend to live like a monk, be aware it's not the fun stuff -- like endless golf rounds -- that adds up; health care expenses drive up retirement costs for most people.

The bottom line: The more you save, the more stable and happy your retirement will be, whether you're jetting off to Rome or pruning petunias at home.

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