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.


Fool contributor Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.