Is retirement nothing more than a pipe dream?

Retirement The economy might be improving (or not, depending on who's talking), but Americans sure aren't feeling any better about retirement.

The most recent Country Financial Security Index found that 51 percent of those surveyed believe they will have saved enough money to retire comfortably, down 5 points from 2010. That's the lowest level since the Index's inception in 2007.

"What we've seen is a consistent decline since last October (in people's confidence about their retirement prospects)," Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning for Country Financial, told United Press International. "As the economy ebbs and flows, there's been a consistent decline."

Those numbers are positively oozing with confidence compared to a recent study from and the Siena College Research Institute. Among their findings:

  • Eighty-two percent of Americans ages 29-49 admit that they aren't saving nearly enough for retirement.
  • Only 41 percent have added to their employers' retirement contributions.
  • Fewer than 50 percent have a 401(k) account.

"More troubling," writes's Larry Barrett, "71 percent expect that unless something drastic is done to overhaul Social Security, the system will likely be bankrupt within the next 20 to 25 years, making their individual retirement savings and planning all the more critical."

It's an interesting paradox: Gen-Xers understand the importance of saving for retirement, but few of them are doing it.

It's also a huge opportunity for the profession: Who's better prepared than CPAs to help these folks get on the right track? (Hint: The correct answer is, "Nobody.")

Is it time to make this type of educaton mandatory? I say "Yes," and I'm not the only one.

How about you?


Bill Sheridan