Don't Be One of These Statistics: How to Plan for Retirement

It's no secret that Americans aren't always the best at knowing how to plan for retirement. After looking at some of the numbers from a recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, it's clear that many of us have a real retirement problem.

The study surveyed 1,254 individuals -- 1,003 workers and 251 retirees -- back in January, and here are seven of the scariest facts they found:

1. Of the survey respondents, 57% of them said they have a total household savings and investments of less than $25,000 -- excluding their homes and benefit plans. 

2. About 28% of the responders said they didn't believe they would have enough money to retire comfortably when the time came. This matches the retirement confidence level in 2011, an all-time low in the study's 23-year history. 

3. The percentage of workers who have saved for retirement fell to 66% last year, down from 75% in 2009.

4. Only about half of the people surveyed said they could come up with $2,000 if they needed to in the next month. About 28% said they definitely or probably could not come up with the money.

5. Only 46% of survey respondents said they've sat down and tried to calculate how much they will need for their retirement.

6. A whopping 28% of working respondents said they have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

7. More than half of the workers surveyed and 39% of retirees surveyed said they have a problem with the level of their debt.

These aren't encouraging numbers for the state of Americans' financial future, but luckily this doesn't have to be the end of the story. So far this year, the S&P 500 has seen gains of more than 9% -- good news for those investing for their retirement. But there are a few poor-performing sectors to look out for this year, and investors should consider all aspects of financial planning when it comes to their retirement.

Luckily, The Motley Fool has built a plethora of free resources to teach you how to plan for your retirement. 

1. Here's a short video by Robert Brokamp, a Certified Financial Planner and advisor of Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement on 4 Things You Should Do Before You Retire.

2. Get started with your Foolish retirement planning by following these 13 Retirement Steps. Each easy-to-follow step walks you through how to get your retirement started. 

3. If you're close to retirement, check out our video on The Biggest Challenge for Today's Retirees. Retirement-planning analyst Dan Caplinger and Fool personal finance expert Dayana Yochim discuss issues current retirees are facing.

Retirement planning isn't easy, but you don't have to go it alone. Whether you're just entering the workforce or planning your retirement party, check out the valuable resources on the retirement planning section of our website.

The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

 


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  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 2:25 PM, taylorjlp wrote:

    and yet all the government wants to do is tax those of us who do save more & more.....then means test SS and Medicare! I'm not sure it really does pay to save for your own retirement.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 3:13 PM, mr091468 wrote:

    These leaches are probably sucking the government tootoo right now and will continue to suck after retirement. Let's all welcome the 15-20 million illegals onto the rolls so the broken country can declare BK just like the third world backward countries do and let's get it over with it.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 4:31 PM, PaulMcD123 wrote:

    If you are unwilling or unable to cut your standard of living today, you will never put together enough to retire. Since 401K contributions are not taxed, the impact of increasing your deduction is less than it seems.

    Just remember, it is likely to cost as much or more when you retire as it does right now.,

  • Report this Comment On April 24, 2013, at 3:08 AM, herky46q wrote:

    I see a lot of welfare in the future.

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