Planning for retirement is one of the biggest financial challenges facing Americans today. Unlike some savings behaviors, which can be short-term and more drastic, planning for retirement is a long-term goal with massive implications and benefits to starting early and being diligent.
Life expectancies are so long now that the average human can expect to live as long as the wealthiest did in 1950. Meanwhile, companies have divested in pensions in favor of 401K plans, handing employees over controls of their financial futures. While this may provide more freedom, it also offloads risk onto those same employees. Without the right controls and education, it can be difficult to reliably make prudent retirement decisions for forty consecutive years (if not more, as retirement ages begin to get deferred.)
There is a massive retirement income gap issue in the United States, with millions at risk of underbudgeting for their later years. According to the NHP Foundation, 62% of Baby Boomers believe Social Security will provide for half of their living expenses in retirement. The real numbers say that may not be the case.
When it comes to financial troubles, many are quick to make value judgments. Listen to author Elizabeth White speak about why struggling to make ends meet is not a personal fault, but a symptom of growing economic inequities -- and what you can do to regain stability in the face of uncertainty.