Startling New Stats About Retirement Savings

Updated: 03/18/2014 6:29 PM By: Brandi Powell

As most of us know firsthand, it's not always easy to save for retirement.

Many Minnesotans don't have access to a retirement savings plan through their employer. Wednesday at the State Capitol, AARP staff will join state lawmakers to present the Minnesota Secure Choice Plan.

The average U.S. family has just $12,000 saved for retirement, according to AARP. Some, aren't saving at all. Twenty-eight-year-old John Abress said, "Right now, nothing. Everything I have saved right now is for immediate needs."

Others are counting only on themselves. Thirty-year-old Johann Hauser said, "I just opened a Roth IRA."

Others combined a lot of hard work with a little bit of luck. Sixty-year-old Fred Thomas said, "I was able to retire, and feel comfortable about the future in terms of having enough money, unless I live to be 110 (years old)."

John Geenen, Managing Partner at Waterfront Financial Group, said, "The chance is greater that life is going to be long, and inflation is going to be your worst enemy."

Geenen laid out an example of how much you'll need: A husband and wife team, age 54, wants to retire in 14 years; their current combined income is $150,000. Together, they have $38,000 in social security and when they retire they'll get $400/month in pension. Accounting for inflation, they'll need about $2.6 million for retirement, and that's to live at 80 percent of their current lifestyle.

So, when should you start saving? "When you're in diapers, if you can," said Geenen.

AARP Minnesota says one in seven seniors is living in poverty. Staff says something has to change.

Jim Scheibel, volunteer President of AARP Minnesota said, "If they can begin to build up their own retirement savings, they don't have to worry about, 'Oh geez, what if the business closes,' or, 'What if I move somewhere else.'"

Scheibel said AARP Minnesota believes a way to begin that first step toward saving would be through the Minnesota Secure Choice Plan. He says it's an easy-access, voluntary investment plan. It would be secure; managed through the state retirement board.

To help you plan, you can log onto Look for "calculator", and enter four numbers to figure out how much you need for retirement.