15 ways to ruin your financial future: Not saving enough for retirement

We are doing a terrible job saving for retirement. The median 401(k) plan balance is a paltry $18, 986!

While there is raging debate over how much you need to save in order to retire with dignity, everyone would agree that most Americans are falling far short of achieving this goal.

So how much do you need to save?

Ideally, you need to figure out how much your expenses will be when you retire for the rest of your life (and, if you are married, the life of your spouse or partner). This is not easy to do, given the ravages of inflation and a tax code that is subject to change.

Most financial planners simply assume that you will need a percentage of your pre-retirement salary.

Don't miss the rest of our series on 15 Ways to Ruin Your Financial Future!


One comprehensive study by Baclays Global Investors determined that 75% of pre-retirement income is a benchmark for a successful retirement. The study also found that, given the typical 401(k) plan savings rate, most Americans could count on replacing only 41% of their pre-retirement income.