I just learned that Congress has declared this week National Save for Retirement Week. I can't quibble with their motivation, but I'm outraged all the same:

  • Almost half of all workers say that they've saved and invested less than $25,000 for their retirement.
  • One in five retirees claim to have no savings at all. (Yikes!)
  • Most of us can expect to need between 75% and 85% of our current income to live on in retirement.

Assume that you're about to retire with a nest egg of, say, $50,000. According to the statistics, you're ahead of the game. Our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service has recommended that to make your nest egg last, you should plan conservatively and withdraw about 4% of it per year in retirement. So 4% of $50,000 is ... $2,000. Per year. That comes to $167 a month. Can you live off that? Is that anywhere near 75% to 85% of your current income? I didn't think so.

The outrage
I'm irate because Congress is suggesting that we can address our retirement needs by saving money for just one week. Many of us should be aiming to sock away 15% or more of our annual income. For those earning $60,000 per year, that's $9,000. Can you put aside $9,000 in one week? Me neither.

Oh, wait a second -- my editor is tapping me on the shoulder...

OK. Seems I was wrong. The week is for increasing awareness of the need to save, not for actually doing all your saving. Fair enough. So let me urge you to take advantage of this reminder and focus on your retirement plans.

Do you need to contribute to your IRA this year? Do it. Are you looking for some dividend-paying stocks for your portfolio, to provide income in retirement? Use our CAPS screener to find highly rated dividend payers such as these:

Stock

Dividend Yield

3M (NYSE:MMM)

3.5%

Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI)

3.9%

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)

3.3%

Diageo (NYSE:DEO)

4.9%

Stanley Works (NYSE:SWK)

3.6%

Maxim Integrated Products (NASDAQ:MXIM)

5.0%

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)

3.4%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

And if $167 a month won't cut it for your retirement, learn to plan for a cushier one. Our Rule Your Retirement service can give you all the tools you'll need to retire happy. A free trial will give you full access to all past issues, plus recommendations of promising stocks and mutual funds, too.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of 3M and Maxim Integrated Products. Diageo is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. 3M is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.