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If surveys are right, we're likely to die before we can afford to retire

By Dian Vujovich

The more I learn about how people manage, handle and invest their money the more I think we human beings aren’t all wired for making the big deal out of money and the accumulation of it that living a long life in America requires. One of the clearest examples of that is reflected in how financially prepared people are to retire.

I’ve known for some time about the huge don’t-have-enough-money-to-retire financial tsunami that’s coming America’s way. And, it’s not just going to hit the states along our shores but will impact every single state along with most families and our government’s coffers too.

But this blog isn’t about how to change the course of this ugly gonna be happening—although starting a long-term retirement savings and investing account for your child the day after she is born would be a good beginning.

Nope, instead I’m just going to review a couple of points revealed in a few surveys published this week.

Perhaps the most unsettling was the one from Wells Fargo & Co. In it, a spokesperson from that firm said that 80 is the new 65.

Eighty! Are you kidding me? Life expectancy in the US averages a bit over 79, according to the CIA World Factbook. Of course the ladies have a tendency to outlive the guys. So, if 80 is the likely age that American’s will have saved enough to be able to retire, that’s tough luck for the guys and good news for the ladies. Women at least will be able to reap some saving rewards because they, on average, live to age 83. Men expire around age 79, on average.

And then there’s how we think.

From a Yahoo!Finance survey, 37 percent of those questioned had no retirement savings at all. Even so, most were confident that they would be able to retire and 38 percent planned to live off their Social Security checks in retirement.

But here’s a flash: At the beginning of this year, the average monthly Social Security benefit check was $1,177. So much for living large. Without other sources of income, simply paying for groceries, meds and keeping a roof over one’s head would be challenging on that amount.

Results from a CountryFinancial survey found 25 percent of adults surveyed had no savings at all.

It’s a delicate balancing act—tying to live for and enjoy today while squirreling away as much money as you can for a life later on down the road. And as I wrote above, I’m not so sure we all are wired to handle the financial part of that. But, we’ve got to learn to even in light of our on-going recession, the wage gap and the rising cost of everyday living expenses.

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