U.S. short of what's needed to retire

You really think you should put your retirement there?

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: New research says Americans are more than $6 trillion short of what they need for retirement. That works out to $90,000 per potential retiree, on average. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer is live in Washington with some highlights of a new study. Good morning, Nancy.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: These are pretty gloomy numbers. What are they based on?

MARSHALL GENZER: Yeah, sorry to bring you down here Steve. These numbers are based on research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Now, the center's researchers calculated what the average person between the ages of 32 and 64 have saved so far for retirement. Then they calculated what the average person needs. And guess what: We're not saving nearly enough. The exact shortfall is six point $6.6 trillion.

CHIOTAKIS: That is a whopping number. Now, could that number get worse, Nancy?

MARSHALL GENZER: Unfortunately it could. That's because this is actually a conservative estimate. The center assumes a rate of return on investment of 3p recent and it also assumes there won't be any changes to Social Security benefits. So, for example, if the retirement age were raised, these numbers would change. And most importantly, the center didn't include what the average retiree spends on health care.

I spoke with Monique Morrissey about this. She's an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

MONIQUE MORRISSEY: Older households spend a larger share of their income on health care and, in particular, on nursing home care. And if you were to take the higher health care costs into account, you would actually find a much greater number of households that are at risk to see falling living standards in retirement.

And Morrissey says the researchers also assumed future retirees would spend every penny they had on retirement, leaving nothing for their heirs.

CHIOTAKIS: That's an eye-opening report. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reporting from D.C. Nancy, thanks.

MARSHALL GENZER: You're welcome.

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