Talk to any financial expert in the country and they will tell you there's a crisis in the making.
“Forty percent of Americans aren't saving for retirement. That's almost half the population! We're in trouble,” financial adviser Carol Holm of Blackfoot said, citing a Gallup poll.
If people are counting on Social Security to take care of them, the experts say, that's a bad bet.
The average monthly Social Security payment in 2012 was $1,130. Could you live on that?
How about living on even less?
“There's every reason to believe monthly Social Security checks will be smaller in the future, and possibly nonexistent eventually,” said Holm. “We talk about the debt ceiling crisis. We've also got a retirement crisis.
“Most people don't realize when they signed Social Security into law in 1935, the life expectancy was 62. Honestly, they didn't expect us to live long and pay those benefits out so long,” said Holm.
She believes the government can't sustain Social Security as it now exists, and Holm believes there will be a cutoff. The numbers she hears tossed around most often are age 55 and younger will not get benefits from Social Security. That doesn't set well with the 40-plus crowd.
“ It's really frustrating to know we are paying into it, ” said Cami Newsome of Holm Financial, “and it's not going to benefit us at all.”
Chad and Nancy Phillips are 25 years old, and can see the writing on the wall. They're already started to save for retirement. At their age, that's unusual. They crunched numbers with their financial adviser
“Based on what you're putting in, at 65, you'll have a million dollars,” Holm told them. “But, as great as that sounds in today's dollars, down the road, as young as you are and inflation, you'll need three times that amount.”
Nancy Phillips was startled.
“I didn't think it would be that much,” she said.
Holm said a 25-year-old today will need to save $3 million for retirement. There are two steps to take.
“First, start young,” said Holm. “Second, have it taken out of your check automatically and put into something like a 401k.”
Holm said if you never see it, you can learn to live with out it.
“If you have it automatically withdrawn out of your checks, you have it that much easier when you don't see it. Then, at the end of the year when you look at how much is in there, that makes a difference. Way to go me!” said Chad Phillips, congratulating himself on his choice to save for retirement.
Newsome said she recommends everyone run their numbers.
“Make sure you're putting enough aside to get to that point where you can retire,” she said. “Putting it away in a 401k is the best way to do it, and if your company is matching, meet that because that's free money.”
In a recent Gallup poll, 72 percent of Americans aged 50-64 are worried about having enough money to retire.
Holm Financial advises if you're in your 20s, you need to save $3 million.
If you're in your 30s, save $2.5 million. If you're in your 40's, save $2 million. If you're in your 50s, save $1 million.