How to retire on just $25,000 in the bank

In a recent survey, more than half of U.S. workers saving for retirement have less than $25,000 in the bank for the golden years. That's not a lot of money -- how do retirees survive on that?

Don Easton knows he needs to save for retirement. But he’s been out of work for five years and so instead of putting money into his retirement accounts, he’s been pulling it out. There’s food, gas, and credit card debit.

“Dental care’s a big issue,” he says. “I need a new crown.”

Easton hopes to return to work soon and has been picking up side work painting houses and doing handiwork. He’s optimistic that he’ll again be able to save. But he says if he hits retirement without sufficient savings, he’s lucky to have a safety net—his family.

“I would move in with my sister,” he says. “She has kids and they all enjoy having me around.”

He’d also try to delay retiring by simply working longer.

Those strategies are common solutions for American workers who have not saved enough for retirement.

It’s not that people don’t want to save, says Nevin Adams, the director of education at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. It’s just that there are often more pressing economic concerns.

“Retirement’s down a really long list of things people are trying to worry about,” he says.

More than half of respondents to a EBRI survey released Tuesday reported they have less than $25,000 in savings, excluding their houses and pensions.

Therefore, like Easton, people could lean on family. They can work more. But the biggest chunk of the retirement pie will be Social Security.

“For people who have their whole lives been in, let's say, the bottom third of the pay distribution, Social Security is going to replace a very large chunk of their pre-retirement earnings, thereby relieving them, potentially, of the need to save a whole lot more,” says Olivia Mitchell, the executive director at Pension Research Council and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

They’ll also likely lean on Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

For middle income households, Social Security offers a smaller percentage of what they’re used to living on.

“It’s really the middle class I think is potentially most in trouble,” says Mitchell. “Working a few extra years could well make the difference between having enough and running out.”

For those approaching retirement who haven’t yet saved enough, she has this not-so-cheery mantra: “Work longer, save more, and expect less.”

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This is very difficult situation. I know some people who hard for last twenty to twenty five years and when they retire they do not have much money in their bank accounts. They probably have to rely on their kids to live their rest of their lives which has no shame in it, because they probably put money into their kid’s education and everything. But, I wish for some resolution to the matter by US government. Do visit my link for Microsoft windows technical support.

Retiring on modest savings would be a helluva lot easier if we had universal coverage for basic healthcare and dental/optical service. Paying rent and a modest food allowance is enough for most people who don't plan on vacationing in the Caribbean twice a year. https://www.rebelmouse.com/getridofherpesebook/

I happened upon this article from a Google search on 401K's. After reading it, and especially the reader comments, it's clear this viewership is of the "take care of me Mommy as a child, and now that I'm grown-up, take care of me Mommy Government." How sad. You people call yourselves adults? It's OTHER people's responsibility to provide for you in your old age, after your failure OVER A LIFETIME to save and do-without? I bet you all have flat-screen TV's, smartphones, etc.

What spoiled brats you are, all of you. What you derisively call "the rich" are those who worked and saved for a lifetime, for the proverbial "rainy day" of old age. Of course, it's no surprise that the irresponsibility of a government that spends more than it collects, and never envisions a rainy day (that can't be covered by taking more from others who have it, or printing more "money") would be admired by the same irresponsible adults who have registered their complaints and envy on this website.

You see, much like the science principles you lefties claim to admire so much, you ALWAYS eventually run out of OTHER people's money to spend. How ignorant you all are. Human nature is human nature, and if you can't take care to accumulate and protect wealth for your own future (even at modest levels...haven't you heard the stories of people who accumulated millions after a lifetime of thrift working as a JANITOR?), why would you protect and treat with care OTHER people's wealth?

You see, you won't. Your complaints show you have already failed. That's how parasites always behave, eating their host until both are weakened to the point of death. And those who whine and complain about other people's success, rather than taking responsibility for finding their own success (again, even JANITORS have proven their ability to earn more than a comfortable retirement), and see the best answer as taking from those with money (all the invented schemes mentioned here are all designed to accomplish this, whether "free" health care, a bankrupt Social Security pyramid scheme, etc...even paying into Social Security from your paycheck doesn't cover the 3X amount or more you'll take out during your own retirement) for their own selfish purposes, is the essence of the 60's "flower child" leftist movement that never grew up to take care of themselves (but still made a lot of noise anyway.)

You people make me sick. Are you sure you are Americans? Independent-minded? Entrepreneurial? Hearty? Why don't you try out Cuba? Venezuela? Enjoy the SHARED misery there of the socialist utopia you ignorant people think you need and want. Fools....all of you !

Retiring on modest savings would be a helluva lot easier if we had universal coverage for basic healthcare and dental/optical service. Paying rent and a modest food allowance is enough for most people who don't plan on vacationing in the Caribbean twice a year.

Of course, given the Tea Party penchant for opposing anything rational, I guess that means the chances of Don Easton getting his teeth fixed is a long shot. Those multi-billionaires MUST have their tax breaks, after all.

When I was younger, I really hadn't thought much about retirement because I've seen so many recessions and layoffs. Now I don't think about retirement at all. I'm going to have to work as long as I can... that's if I can find work. The recent and current financial policies allow only the rich to have the option to retire. Anybody still left in the middle class are only fooling themselves if they think they can retire comfortably. If Paul Ryan gets his way, we'll have vouchers for health care and many middle classers will just end up dying before they can retire because they won't be able to afford the inflated premiums.

There is always the Soylent Green Option.

I agree with both comments. It is so sad to think that what I was brought up to believe, that America is the greatest country, is so wrong when it comes to caring about others and basic human needs. I am seriously researching how I can move to another country to live out my remaining years. I am 58 and expect to have to work forever. Maybe I'll get lucky and die young? Thanks, Republicans.

During the last election, I wanted to put a sign on the back of my pickup that said:
"Republicans have a solution to the country's fiscal problems: I give my money to the rich, then they cut my Medicare so I die young and don't collect social security."
I did not do that because I live in a rural area where too many of my neighbors are tea Party/NRA members who would probably shoot me.

The further plan is to die young. None of My family has drawn social security since my great grand father who did not pay into the system but was seventy years old when it started and so drew for two years. The rest died too young from work related illnesses, and cancer. My own generation realized long ago that the "Greatest Generation" had benefits that we will never achieve. The leisurely retirement for the middle class is as illusory as lifetime employment or even a linear career. A paid off home, and a modest savings is the most that my class can hope for. Most of us will die in our traces, working to the end.

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