Why save for retirement?


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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 each year once they retire. For someone who makes $50,000 per year, that’s $35,000.

According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, retirees with more than $50,000 in income say company-sponsored pensions are a major source of income. Those with less than $50,000 are relying mostly on Social Security.

But if you’re relying on Uncle Sam for the majority of your income, you could come up short. In 2014, the average Social Security benefit is $1,296 per month, possibly not enough for most people to rely on for income, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonpartisan policy group.

Tools for retirement planning

So 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.