Are you ready to retire? Make sure you've saved enough

Are you ready to retire? Make sure you've saved enough
Are you ready to retire? Make sure you've saved enough

Will you run out of money in retirement? New research from the Employee Benefits Research Institute shows that even for well-earning Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, there's nearly a 50% chance that will happen.

According to the research, 41% of people in the lowest 25% of American earners ($0 -- $11,700 a year) were likely to run short of money after 10 years in retirement, and 57% after 20 years. Those percentages continued to shrink as earnings increased, but 5% of the highest 25% of American earners ($72,000 and up) are likely to run short of money after 10 years in retirement and 13% after 20 years. That seems especially troubling on a day that Willard Scott wished happy birthday to a 114-year old and 110-year old in succession.

And it means that nearly half of Boomers and Xers are not going to have enough money during their retirement to pay for the basics, let alone the added health care expenses that can run six figures or more, explains EBRI's Jack VanDerhei.

If there's a solution it lies elsewhere in the research. Automatically enrolling workers into 401(k) and other defined contribution plans seems to be one way to get them to save more. The passage of the Pension Protection Act in 2006, brought down the barriers for those employers who wanted to auto-enroll people into their retirement plans, says VanDerhei. It's been hugely successful. In companies that have automatic enrollment, 80% to 90% of people are in the company retirement plan. In companies that don't have it, half that many people are in. And 401(k) participation reduces the risk of running out of money to 20%. That, says VanDerhei, is significant.