RETIREMENT: (NY Times) Here is a current analysis of how close potential retirees (about age 50) are in terms of the savings they need for retirement.

Baby Boomer Households 35.9%

Incomes under $60,000 31.9

Incomes over $60,000 42.9

Those with pensions 51.1%

Those without pensions 30.7%

Married 38.0%

Single 28.9%

Not a pretty sight.

STILL AIN'T GONNA MAKE IT: (1996) The annual Workplace Pulse survey found that annual retirement savings increased 11% in 1996 to $2,388 and 34% more than in 1994. Unfortunately income expectations rose 8% from $24,372 to $26,256. "As a result, the retirement savings of workers in every age group will fall below their average annual retirement income expectations". Surprisingly, 71% said they knew they were not saving enough compared to 60% in 1992. Workplace Plus indicated those retiring at age 65 would need $353,324 in total savings to receive $26,256 income . A worker who is now 30 would need $1,145,972 at age 65 to meet these expectations. The report said that they would need to save $662 more per month than the average $1,761 they now save in order to achieve the $24,256 for retirement. Never happen.

INCOME: (1999) (Washington Post) "The Census Bureau's analysis of household income from 1969-1996 shows a 57% rise in real median income for married couples over age 65 compared to a 6.3% increase for all households. Incomes for single men and women over age 65 rose 63 %. The elderly are now the least likely segment of the population to be poor." Wives working has added substantially to the increased well being. "Without the contribution of wives, the 57% rise in median income for senior couples would have only been 34%.

But, "At age 65... many are coming off peak earning years, still live in a home they own, enjoy relatively good health and are sitting on a nest egg. But a decade later, women have lost their husbands, are beginning to suffer from more expensive, debilitating health problems, and are working their way through savings." 

Though some women recognize the failings of life and try to protect themselves, men are not so insightful. In many cases it's not an issue of when they will die- IT IS AN ISSUE OF IF THEY WILL DIE. As such they are notorious in poor planning- particularly in regards to long term care. It is true that most will die before their wives and they therefore figure why buy something where the wife will take care of them. But they miss the point of reality. Left to their own devices, they would die quickly with a debilitating disease. But with a wife providing intensive care, husbands tend to live much longer. MOST IMPORTANTLY, is the fact that the wife will be brought down by the unceasing requirements of caregiving made even more exhausting because they had not discussed any private care- nor obviously did anything about it anyway.

RETIREMENT (1999) (WSJ): The median annual income for retirees is $11,533  and more than half comes from Social Security. 66% of Americans are saving little or nothing for retirement.

In 1997, the savings rate was 3.9%- among the lowest rates in the last 60 years. It as only 3.6% in the first four months of 1998

The problem is more severe with minorities and women. A survey indicated that only 37% of Latinos had saved any money for retirement versus 66% of non -Latino whites and 62% for Asian Americans and 50% for Blacks. AARP notes that 58% of women believe they are not saving enough versus 51% for men.

62% of non military workers have access to pensions; 38% do not.

Among small businesses, 19% with less than 25 employees have a pension plan versus 48% between 25 to 99 workers and 83% for employers with 100+ employees