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The personal savings habits of Americans have reached a four year low. (Oct 2011; Federal Reserve)
According to a March 2011 survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 29% of Americans have a savings of less than $1,000 while 56% have less than $25,000 saved. These troubling statistics are not without precedent. In July of 2006, Tracey Anne found that 97% of Baby Boomers did not have enough saved for their retirement. Then and now, Americans are not being proactive about planning for retirement. 55% of Americans did not save one penny in the prior year, according to FINRA Investor Education Foundation in December of 2010. But poor savings habits are just the tip of the iceberg. American personal debt is near an all-time high, (Oct 2011; Federal Reserve) including $772 billion in outstanding credit card balances. (Q2 2011 Federal Reserve, CardHub.com) The economic impact is far-reaching. Over 2.32 million Americans applying for mortgages have been rejected. (Nov 2011 The Washington Times, MBA) The average student graduates with $23,186 in debt. (Spring 2011 Fed Reserve Bank of Richmond) College students collectively owe more than $1,000,000,000,000. (Oct 2011 USA Today, Federal Reserve Bank of New York) Additionally, more American filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college and filed for divorce. (Bankruptcy: 2010 U.S. Court System) (Graduate: 2012 2010 Census, 2009 Data) Due in large part to heavy debt, 42% of Americans lives paycheck to paycheck. (Aug 2011 CareerBuilder.com Survey) Spending is another factor. 55% of Americans spend more than their annual income. (Dec 2010 FINRA Investor Education Foundation) 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old today and everyday for the next 18 years. (Dec 2010 Pew Research Center) It is important that baby boomers and younger Americans alike plan for retirement. According to a June 2011 study by the Urban Institute, Social security will provide an annual income of $26,000. When you consider that the U.S. poverty line for a family of 4 is $22,300, (2010 Census, U.S. Census) $26,000 is not enough for a secure retirement. Referencing back to the 2006 findings from Tracey Anne, not much has changed with regard to American retirement planning. The study found that 62% of Americans would retire with less than $25,000, 35% with less than $100,000, and only 2% with an adequate pension or retirement account. It is imperative that Americans reverse this trend by being proactive about retirement planning.
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