Retirement and Young Americans: Something to Think About

When you're young, one of the last things you think about is retirement. Who wants to think about something that's 40 years down the road? Unfortunately, though, given the $6.6 trillion Retirement Income Deficit and the many inadequacies of today's do-it-yourself system, retirement is something that young people should be thinking about.

Data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College finds that 56 percent of Generation X households were at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Additional data from the Congressional Research Service shows that the median 401(k) account balance for workers age 21-35 is only $12,000. That number isn't much better for workers age 35-44 for whom the median 401(k) account balance is a mere $18,000.

Melissa, a senior in college, never thought about retirement until she saw her parents dip into their retirement savings to help make ends meet after her father lost his job. Now, a good retirement plan is high on Melissa's list of things she wants as she searches for jobs. After graduating from college, Noah didn't follow the typical career path of entering corporate America. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion: music. Unfortunately his choice barely pays the bills and, according to Noah, saving for retirement right now just “isn't in the cards.”

These are just two of the many stories that younger Americans have to tell about retirement. What's your story? Read the stories in the Retirement USA Story Bank and give Washington a wake-up call.  

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