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Many are saving lots for retirement

Retirement crisis? New data suggest that only 15% to 25% of Americans will be poorly prepared for their retirement years.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 19, 2012 11:02AM

This post comes from Anne Tergesen at partner site SmartMoney.


SmartMoney on MSN MoneyCommon wisdom has it that Americans are woefully underprepared for retirement. But some recent data from Fidelity Investments offers hope that things may not be so bad after all.


Image: Money in nest (© Steven Puetzer/Getty Images/Getty Images)When discussing retirement readiness, many point to data that show American workers haven't saved enough in their 401ks to do more than buy a luxury car. But Fidelity took a look at the combined amounts investors with both IRAs and 401ks have managed to save. And the results aren't that depressing.


"The findings show a combined average balance of $212,600," the company reports. Better still, among those ages 65 to 69, the combined average balance is $359,000. (Post continues below video.)

Depending on where you live, of course, that may not be enough to ensure a comfortable retirement. But it's far higher than the $123,400 the average 65- to 69-year-old has in his or her 401k alone. (How much money will your 401k provide?)


Kathleen A. Murphy, the president of Fidelity's personal investing unit, writes that the analysis "clearly underscores the importance of using both an IRA and 401k to help maximize long-term, tax-deferred growth potential."

Steve Utkus, who oversees the Vanguard Center for Retirement Research, recently published a blog post that debunks the notion of a crisis in retirement savings. Among the highlights:

  • A new report suggests 60% of Americans are prepared for retirement. Most studies, Utkus adds, "suggest that over half of Americans are on track in their retirement planning."
  • Of those who are not fully prepared, Utkus argues that many are within striking distance -- and can reach their goals by saving more or working longer. "I'd argue that probably 20% to 30% of Americans are in this partially ready camp," he says.
  • "Finally, there's a smaller group -- I'd estimate between 15% and 25% of all Americans -- who are likely to be very poorly prepared for retirement. The distinguishing characteristic of this group is that they're struggling financially in their working years. In other words, a difficult life while working usually translates into a difficult life in retirement."

In conclusion, Utkus notes that "much of the national dialogue on retirement assumes that there are few Americans in the first two groups (on track or close to being on track for retirement) and many of us in the third group (poorly prepared for retirement) -- exactly opposite of what the data suggest."


More from SmartMoney and MSN Money:


Apr 24, 2012 5:50PM

I have no idea where they get their data from.. Most individuals I talk with have nowhere near that much.. And most of that is in invested in their 401K and in their own company stock which is really scary! Confused

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