Americans cautioned to save more for retirement

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CLARKONOMICS: All through the years, I’ve told you to save a dime of every dollar you make through your working lifetime to prepare for retirement. But that number could be going up, according to the latest word from some financial gurus.

Let’s face it: Private company pensions are going the way of the dodo bird, and there are serious doubts about the long-term ability of Social Security to give a level of income in retirement as it currently does.

Right now, some 35% of people have Social Security as their sole source of income in retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting Social Security to go away completely in the future. But with demographics in play, Social Security will provide an ever smaller amount of people’s living expenses in retirement. The pay-out formula will eventually be modified by Congress and you’ll get a smaller check.

That means you have to make up that shortfall. So some financial types are saying 15% is the new 10% when it comes to the percent of your income you should save, according to

In reality, though, the latest stats show we as a country only save about 4% of our pay — and that’s a big improvement from where we were five years ago when we spent more than we made, something like $1.01 for every dollar we made. So it’s a process. You have to crawl before you walk. And right now we’re getting ready to walk.

The choice is yours. Do you choose to work for a much longer time of life or maybe the rest of your life that you’re able bodied? That’s a perfectly valid choice if that’s what you want. But if you prefer the option of being able to say, “You know, I don’t want to go to work anymore” and you want to have some level of comfort making that choice, you’ve got to save.

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