Why are they so surprised? Let's see: for the past 30 years, declining wages. People have tapped themselves out on expensive houses, putting their kids through college, and keeping themselves afloat through extended unemployment -- not to mention medical expenses. If you didn't cash in on the equity in your house when it was still worth something, or have a pension that has held its worth during this recession, how on earth would you have enough money to retire?
Almost 40% of working Americans said they will never afford retirement, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Retirement ranked as the most important issue out of all financial concerns facing Americans, including uninsured medical expenses and rising education costs. In fact, it topped the list for the second year in a row, the survey said.
The majority, or 56%, of those polled said they were not saving for retirement, mostly because of the toll higher gas and food prices were taking on their budgets.
Fifty-five percent said they didn't even know how much they need to save for retirement, while those that thought they did know often underestimated the amount, the AICPA said.
When asked to estimate how much savings they needed to retire at age 65 and live for 20 years, most of those earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year said they needed $250,000 in savings. But assuming inflation and annual expenses of $50,000, that amount would run out in less than 10 years, the AICPA said.
"These statistics suggest we are on the verge of a retirement crisis in America," Jordan Amin, chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, said in a statement. "Americans don't know how to prepare for their twilight years, and many have put off figuring it out because they're struggling to make ends meet now."
Gee, you don't suppose a national pension plan would be a good idea? That way, businesses would cut costs because they wouldn't have to deal with the complex pension laws and workers might actually have a pension that was still there when they got old.