March 9th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

43 percent have less than $10,000 saved for retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/art.retirement.0309.cf.gi.jpg caption =" What does it mean that 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings for retirement?"]From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They're supposed to be the golden years, but retirement is becoming more and more difficult for millions of Americans.

A new survey shows that the percentage of workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third year in a row.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed say they have less than ten thousand dollars saved for retirement, excluding the value of homes and pension plans.

The annual Retirement Confidence Survey also finds that 27 percent of workers have less than one thousand dollars in retirement savings.

One thousand dollars.

It's a glaring picture of the decline in our quality of life. Only 16 percent of Americans say they're confident they can save enough for a comfortable retirement - that's the second lowest percentage in the 20-year history of the poll.

Job losses and mortgage problems are partly to blame here - but not entirely. Some people weren't saving even when the economy was stronger. And, a lot of people don't want to think about retirement - until it's too late.

For many Americans, the new reality is working longer and retiring later in life. Financial planners say that retirement savings - including Social Security and pension - should provide about 80 percent of your pre-retirement income. For most people – that means they should be saving close to 10 percent of their salary.

But with millions unemployed, rising care health costs and decreasing home values - among other things - saving that much just isn't possible.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings for retirement?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Isabella says:
Jack, For people living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, saving for retirement is next to impossible. I am one of those 43 percent and the way I see it, I'm grateful that I'm able to support my kids, give them a nice home, nutritious meals and send them to school in clean clothes. Saving for retirement simply has to wait until either I have fewer expenses or more income.

Zach from Washington says:
It’s not a question of not being able to save – it’s a question of not wanting to. If you are of retirement age right now and aren't close to your goals that’s your fault for not saving over a lifetime of working. It’s not a representation of the economic climate.

Mike from Landisville, Pennsylvania says:
As a former employee benefits administrator who managed pension plans, I am not surprised. I've seen people borrow from their pension plan and take out "loans" like the pension plan is their piggy bank. They use the money to buy sports cars, sofas, etc. It just goes with Americans' short-term focus on everything we do.

J. from Portland, Oregon says:
It just means that even though the official retirement age will be 60-something (depending on when you were born), the actual retirement age will be much later. So in effect we will have gone back to the days where the vast majority of people worked until they died, and only the lucky few ever retired. And usually didn't live long after that.

Norm says:
Approaching retirement myself, my observation is that most people I know never learned the difference between "what you need" and "what you want". Knowing the difference, and limiting my spending over my adult life, I am ready and anxious to get to it.

Ron from Copenhagen says:
It means something is very, very wrong with the system, unless you are a senator or congressman. Then you are safe.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    It means that an entire generation, was never able to make enough money, in their working years, to do more than pay for the cost of living.

    That's the reality. The "good life" was a myth, for decades.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  2. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    It means that the rest of us who have sacrificed our entire lives to save for a nice retirement will be paying more taxes to pay for those who blew every dollar they ever earned and then some. As retirement nears I begin to wonder if I made the right decision, since the trend seems to be government as Robin Hood.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    Everyone expects a hand out and a bail out from the government. And for many of us, it won't be coming as the welfare state reaches it's obvious bankrupt end. In the coming years we'll be in the same boat as Greece, with fewer of us paying to support the grasshoppers that didn't learn from the ant. And today's grasshopper can't get the stone out of the teacher's hand, but they'll get the last dollar from our pockets...

    March 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  4. Jimmy

    Save, who can save? People are too busy having fun, buying every fancy car and toy available and using their homes and credit cards as ATM machines to fund it all. After all the government is here to rescue them all from their own bad habits. Heck, just tax the rich some more to take care of the little guy who was too busy playing to worry about retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    It means a whole lot of people are living hand to mouth. While politicians dither about health care reform, folks who have been hanging by their finger nails drop into catastrophic illness and debt.

    We are presently subsidizing the health insurance companies. At least with reform, they will no longer be able to drop anyone they have to pay out on.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Lori

    Welfare checks should have a mandatory deduction for social security benefits.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  7. frank

    Hey Jack, we're screwed. Get fired because of the 'Peace Dividend' ..
    thanks Dick, there goes my nest egg. Fast forward get a house, try to save it from foreclosure, there goes the other nest egg. I'm mid 50s and white. Think there is a job out there? Last I looked they were all H1Bs. They're cheap and servile.

    Been FIVE YEARS and I'm still looking. Twenty years ago there were aerospace engineers with 3, 4, 5 years unemployed.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  8. Joe R - Houston

    It means that well over half (57 percent) have as much or more.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  9. Michael Alexandria, VA

    It means that we need statistics for various age groupings to know if this is a problem. Now, if 43% of people between 50 and 65 have less than $10,000 saved, that would be a problem.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  10. Michele Braun

    It means that only the Congressman, Senaters & the very rich are going to be able to live to an ripe old age. Unless the voters get off their Butts & vote Amercans back in charge.
    Michele KS

    March 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  11. Rachel in San Diego, CA

    We can't save for tomorrow when we are still trying to pay for today. The government takes too much of our money in high fees and taxes on everything we do and earn for us to have anything left to save for retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  12. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    I am not surprised at all by this news. It is hard saving for anything, let alone retirement. It now takes two incomes to get by. In this economy that is tough. Add kids to the mix, and the fact that more and more companies are doing away with pensions, and saving just goes out the window. It has taken me 25 years to save 35K. I only have another 10-15 years of work left. I won't have 100K when I retire, and even if I did it wouldn't be enough to last. Something needs to be done.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  13. Barbara Kenzik

    People have to stop spending on junk the electronics industry says we 'must have' and put that money into savings.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  14. Joanne B

    In future yrs more senior citizens will be on welfare as well.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  15. Charles in ohio

    Jack: When you ask what I think about the 43% that has little on no savings for retirement. I would say Wall Street got it and what was not stolen by them healthcare got the rest!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  16. Kevin Hancock

    This means that the education system, the banks, and the media in this Country for the past 50 years have been teaching people that they are entitled to a free ride; so why save! I am 52 years old and I did all the right things but even I have to watch the value of the dollars I saved be destroyed by educated idiots running our banks, government and dollar into the ground!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Jake Johannsen

    Jack, wait until if they get the HealthCare bill through and that eats up more of the capital of the US (we have read it and Paul Ryan is correct it will cost dearly and be detrimental to senior citizens) – we have big trouble coming with the stupidity we have coming from Washington, lead by the Whitehouse. Everything that is done comes from Obama and his group – to be remembered as the "joke ADM"...and us idiots voted for him.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  18. Jane (Minnesota)

    There isn't one answer to this question. First off, the recent upward wealth re-distribution we've witnessed that started in the Bush Admin means more people do not have the disposable income to put money away for retirement, especially if they have kids they have to put through college or have medical expenses their health insurance would not cover (that is IF they had insurance in the first place!). Secondly, many Americans do not have the discpline to actually save a portion of their income for a rainy day or retirement in this current instant gratification, "I have to have more than I can afford and I have to have it now" society. When I was growing up, you often saw advertising encouraging saving, where are those ads now? Finally since so many have chosen instant gratification, they've borrowed against their future income (and often times more) on credit cards and don't have a prayer to save when they are being eaten alive by the fees and high interest rates. Americans do need to get back to basics and live within their means. I've been blessed to have a well paying job and I also have worked most of those years for a boss that preached retirement savings and good health. I'm reaping those benefits, my retirement account balance is 6 figures & I have 15 – 20 years to retirement and I try to live healthier than I used to. It can be done, America – but the change has to start from within.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  19. Moe Dallas TX

    It means that it is not a correct statement..90% have much more than that in savings, they just don't claim it for tax purposes and to keep hedge funds away from them. Don't forget, we are the richest nation on Earth !!!! How much do you have in savings Jack ??

    March 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  20. Albert R. K. Los Anegles

    Jack, it means Generation Jones is going to have a hard time keeping up with the Joneses when their Baby Boomer parents reveal the true meaning of “Boomers” when they drop the bomb on them by retiring.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  21. William Pontarelli

    Whatever it was like before social security but worse with families spread all over the country. If these folks are in their fifties, as they lose their skills and vitality, they will be mooching of their families. If that doesn't work, workhouses may be making a comeback, counth homes and county hospitals could be making a comeback. It's sad to even think about it. Bill from Iowa

    March 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  22. Gigi Oregon

    It means 57% are living payday to payday. And I'll bet over 50% of their money is going on taxes and Insurance premiums.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  23. Tina Tx

    People are living paycheck to paycheck and don't have enough left over to put into a savings plan. The cost of living goes up but salaries do not. How can people save?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  24. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    And I think it means people should be lucky if they have 10,000 in savings these days. You have the same crooks running wall street with no new laws in place. You have insurance companies raising rates daily along with cable and satellite TV sticking it to the people. My electric bill just jumped 30% more here in Pennsylvania. The average working citizen doesn't stand a chance, yet alone be able to save any money. I think it also means this is the work of powerful lobbyist who are now are in complete control of Washington.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  25. Bev

    I think there is a bigger percentage than that. In my opinion, a lot of people earned much more money than we had coming in and lived it up big time. We tried to save all we could and did without expensive designer clothes, an expensive house, a cadilliac or any other big time car, etc. We tried to be responsible for our own well being. We don't have a big amount saved and are retired, but we will not overspend.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  26. Ryan- Galesburg, IL

    Who can afford retirement when we're busy propping-up the banksters and oil speculators?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  27. Charly

    Two thoughts jump into my mind.....#1..do a better job educating people on the necessity of thinking about their retirement starting at an early age. 2. Shoring up our rapidly depleting Social Security Fund and exposing those politicians who squandered the peoples Social Security Trust Fund.

    Bayville, NJ

    March 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  28. chris

    the 57 percent are govt employees making several hundred a year and of course the senate and house of rep and the presidnet are the only ones that have money for retirement thanks to us over taxed americans

    March 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  29. War919

    Well Jack, it means that a large percentage of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to put anything aside to save for later. I really hope the government is investing my money, which they take out of my check every week, wisely. I mean, I should not have to worry about retirement should I? Not with the government is looking out for me, right? (Yes, I am being facetious)

    March 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  30. John from Alabama

    Jack: It means alot people are depending on social security as their primary retirement plan, which is not what social security was meant to do. Social security is a supplement to a private pension or employee pension plan. Peole with 401K's were in a panic when the stock market dropped to 6500, but today the market will close around 10,600, which is much better. Banks better not sell deriviatives bundled up as investment instruments, again.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  31. Adam

    We're too busy living beyond our means to be bothered with thinking about our future. Isn't that what Government is for, to take care of us when we have nothing?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  32. Keith - Ohio

    Gee Jack... You must be talking about the 'Middle Class', or what there is left of it.

    Maybe it's because they have been loosing principle, or maybe it's because they are just unable to same, or maybe it's because there job has left the country... Ask Wall Street. If the DOW is up, we must be doing OK.

    I'm surprised it's only 43%.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  33. RickFromDetroit

    It means that the attempted privatization of the pensions that started 30 years ago was a waste of time!

    As of 2006, over 50% of retiree's were living off of a Social Security Check and many Americans discovered that they would have been better off if the entire pension system were turned over to Social Security.

    With the high turnover that businesses have, combined with businesses relocating or going out of business, most Americans have paid into pension plans, but never receive any of the benefits they paid for.

    With the 401k's loosing 70% of the value last year, it appears that private investment did not work for many Americans either.

    It looks like Social Security is the only retirement that most Americans can rely on, and it is the only pension that the Government can monitor.

    With the retirement community growing larger every year, the lack of adequate pensions will have an effect on consumer spending and will affect the entire Country.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  34. Simon, Orlando

    It means that the rest of us are going to have to come up with a lot of money to pay taxes to help support these people.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  35. Arlene, Illinois

    If we all could hit a little round ball with a round wood stick
    or throw a round ball into a round net then we would all
    have at least $ 10,000 in the bank.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  36. Loren, Chicago

    It means that 43% of Americans have bought into the idea that Social Security will be there to help pay for their retirnement. What they will be surprised by when their benefits are too low to live on is how many other people who have never paid into the Social Security fund are receiving benefits, which by the terms of the original Social Security legislation, they are not entitled to. A perfect example of Congress looking at every source of money as theirown piggyback to buys reelection votes from people who aren't even eligible to vote.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  37. Carla Martin-Wood from Birmingham

    It means that the skyrocketing costs of doctors, medication, dentists, insurance, little incidentals like food and housing - not to mention raising and educating children - have made it impossible to think of that terrifying day following the last day you are able to work.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  38. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Jack, it means economics need to be taught in High School. It's apparent that 43% of the country have no clue to money management. Either that or they've been so busy keeping up the the Joneses that they've leveraged themselves into unrecoverable debt and have had to whittle away at the nest egg.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  39. Greg Turman


    I am in the 57% with over $10,000 saved which means some "victim" will declare me an evil capitalist . President Obama will then take all my savings because he knows better than I what's best for me.

    Greg Turman
    Dallas, Texas

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  40. Mr. D

    It means something must be done to "shore-up" social security and keep it a viable program as one leg of the retirement stool. It also means that the government will have to offer more incentives to encourage savings. But it will be up to individuals to save more and spend less. A proper balance between saving and spending will be a difficult task, especially in our present day society. Can we teach old dogs new tricks?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  41. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Good things their children purchased very large houses, now they'll find out "Who's Coming to Dinner"...and stayed

    March 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  42. David from Herndon, VA

    It means that I, a 36 year old who has done his best to save responsibly, is going to be punished for it. Again.

    By the time I'm retirement age, one of two scenarios will have occurred:

    1. Taxes go way up, Soc. Security and Medicare benefits are slashed, or

    2. The govt prints a ton of money, creating massive inflation and destroying whatever I've managed to save.

    I don't mean to sound callous, but would the baby boomers please stop destroying my future? My kids' futures? Go away already.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  43. Rich McKinney, Texas

    2 things come to mind. The first is that 43 percent of Americans are not expecting to make it to retirement age to have to worry about it. The second thing is that there are a whole lot of delusional Americans are thinking the government will be their salvation when retirement time rolls around. Unfortunately the small social security stipend if it is even available should they reach retirement age will not be enough to keep a church mouse alive. One more thing I would like to mention Jack is that a large percentage of people never do make it to retirement age and when they die the government does not refund the money that was paid in by the deceased. They simply smile and keep it. Social security is not all it is cracked up to be.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  44. Doug - Dallas, TX

    It means a lot of retirees will either live very meager lives or the government will end up taking care of them if they have no family to turn to. Either way it will cost us as a society especially since our population is continuing to get older. As we have experienced, it only takes one good recession to wipe out retirement funds. Of course those responsible for the crash got off without even a slap on the wrist and are back doing the same thing again and getting big bonuses so in 10 years or so we can go through this again. A discussion about priorities is way overdue!!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  45. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Retirement? We have been told for the last thirty years that retirement doesn't exist for working people. I have never even been offered a 401k or IRA. What savings I do have go to fix the car or house. Retirement is an upper class concept that has been used as a deceptive lure to the middle class. For us in the working class it has ALWAYS been a pipe dream or a bald faced lie.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  46. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    It sure doesn't mean that those 43% have less debt than saving's. That amount of money isn't enough to buy a good second hand car.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  47. Rick Medina,OH


    A generation ago, a young graduate would hire on at a large company with the expectation of being enrolled in a pension plan ... one that would grow with his salary and tenure. That is back when global trade was less than 10% of our economy. Except for the elite, that has been replaced with voluntary 401-K plans, some of which include generous company benefits, but many do not. Corporate America got its fixed labor costs down. Your question answers what the rest of us got.


    Medina, OH

    March 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  48. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Jack, retirement is a function of money. Not time. When SSi was created the average life expectency was well below the age you could collect benefits, meaning the government expected you to work virtually your entire life. These people need to get used to that concept and SSI needs to be overhauled.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  49. Chris T

    Flower Mound, TX, it means that these 43 percent of Americans are going to retire to poverty, and sucking at teat of the American Taxpayers for their survival.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  50. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Times will be difficult, I'm retired drawing two retirements plus social security and paying for health care with drug copay runs me over ten thousand a year, this included my medicare, my supplemental, my drug plan plus the copay, so if you don't draw a good retirement or have substantial savings things could be very hard.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  51. Daniel (Middleburg, PA)


    It means that 43 percent of young Americans will one day be taking care of their parents. Add the fat cats of corporate America to the equation and we're in big trouble. You think Bush daughters Jenna and Barbara have any worries?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  52. james in greenville, nc

    Jack, there was a famous beer ad that said you only go around once in life so grab all the gusto you can. I'm guessing everyone followed this advice and lived life to it's fullest. It's not really all that bad of an idea. When you are old you are old, no matter how much money you have. From what I see there isn't too much difference in being old and rich and being old and poor. You are still old!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  53. Terry, Chandler AZ

    That 43% could be misleading. Remember a large portion of Americans may be paying off student loans or have not yet realized the importance of saving for retirement. Obviously many Americans cannot save because of the condition of the economy. But it can be done. I did not start untill age 50, now at 62 I have over $250,000 and my house is paid off. I made a decision to make a financial plan and I focused on achieving that plan.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  54. RickFromDetroit

    Substandard wages is a major reason why many Americans do not have any retirement savings. The medium household income of around $50,000 a year is about half of what it takes to sustain a middle class standard of living for a family of four.
    By the time we pay for a home, a couple of cars, our kids education, health care, and a multitude of insurances, there is nothing left to save, and with recessions occurring every ten or so years, many who had savings lose them to "ride out" the economic hard times.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  55. Mark

    Don't worry, Jack, I'm sure there will be "stimulus" money to pay for every retiree's medica bills, nursing home care and daily living expenses. Isn't that why we elected our current President? So, he could solve all our problems through "Change you can believe in"?
    Well, I believe in it.

    Oklahoma City

    March 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  56. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    It means that real wages, money you can take home after all the deductions are siphoned off, has stagnated for the last 20 years. It used to be that wages would increase before goods and services were increased. That allowed for the growth of the middle class, and also created a vibrant economy. It is completely opposite now. The big oil companies have shown all the other corporations the formula for raising prices without really needing a good reason. That mentality has spread like wild fire in our bottom line motivated society.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  57. James (Sierra Vista, AZ)


    The United States of America has lost its way. We are no longer the country that our forefathers imagined, nor are we the great country that defended the world against the tyranny of evil empires(WWI and WWII). We are no longer the country that rights the wrongs, and stands up for the weak. Now we are the country where the rich watch the poor as they work til they die, and every day their politicians want to take even more away from those who have nothing. Most now can't even imagine working a career to retirement anyway. What does it mean? It means that the corporations that own this country have done everything in their power to bleed it dry, and it also means that when we get past our ability to contribute to the corporations we lose our ability to matter. This country has turned a corner, and I don't believe there will be a way back. That's what it means...

    March 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  58. JaneE

    Considering that Americans have been living on credit (i.e. beyond their means) for decades, it is hardly surprising that they don't have any savings. The latest financial crisis was precipitated by people who couldn't afford the roof over their head, much less save for retirement. The only retirement savings everyone has is Social Security, which will pay them maybe as much as a minimum wage job. It sounds like the era of living comfortably is ending soon.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  59. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    It's called education Jack. The masses are just too dumb to look after themselves. Americans are getting less and less educated everyday and it is getting worse. School budgets are being cut all over the country. Teachers now have to educate classes that are way overcrowded. In addition, illegal alien children are filling classrooms making it impossible to effectively educate due to the time it takes to explain concepts to a student who cannot speak English. If things keep going down this road we will absolutely need a Socialist government and forget about our Republic. Everyone will need the government to take care of them since self sufficiency will be lost.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  60. Mel Peterson

    It could mean they do not have the resources to save. It could also mean they are very short sighted. Everyone should have at least one years income saved for emergencies as our current recession has shown. Savings should also be for retirement which should be a lot more than one years income.

    Mel Peterson
    San Jose, California

    March 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  61. Joe CE

    This means that 43% wil;l not have sufficient funds to live on if they retire. WE need more access to 401K type account, possibly voluntary added contributions thru Social Security.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  62. David of Alexandria, VA

    That the people in this country are living in a fantasy world of buy-it-now consumerism. The folks who hocked the house to buy a pool or charged a vacation which they could not afford are going to pay with an impoverished retirement. I only hope that the coming generations take the 10% guideline seriously, so they don't end up in the poor house like their parents. Wake up, America!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  63. Leslie

    It shows how expensive it is to be a U.S citizen and, how under paid we are in this country when you consider what it cost to live here daily . We would rather pay non citizens under the table than pay citizens a decent wage. Paying someone only survivors wages is wrong and, just another example of how this country has lost its direction. It used to count for something that a person had experience because it met quality of service and a higher level of professionalism. The fact that a large portion of forty somethings are considering retirement in another country because they know that it will be too expensive to retire in the country that they call home is sad. With all its greatness this country has never taken care of its citizens in a manner that will give them any type of security. Social security was intended for citizens to have a secure retirement. As the politicians became more self serving they began striping the rights and securities of the very citizens they claim they are protecting.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  64. pat in michigan

    It means that we had more at one time but thieves in new york and washington stole it and have left us holding the bag.If I were a politician I'd hide or quit.It's gonna get real ugly out there this time around for both parties.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  65. David,Natchez,MS

    Why worry about retirement savings when the reality is you have to work until you drop dead?

    March 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  66. Lori - PA


    That those who are greedy are only becomming more greedy. Just take a look at the health insurance companies.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  67. Carl

    I'am sure your math is way off, I would bet most Americans don't have 10,000 saved for retirement or anything else.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  68. Jack in Boynton Beach FL

    It means that the conservatives have achieved another success in their destruction of the middle class. They continue their mantra that everyone should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps even though their economic policies prevent people from having boots.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  69. Gary in USA

    You say that 43% don't have more than $10K for retirement.
    But you don't say what the ages are of all who were surveyed..
    Are they all under 30 ???

    March 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  70. Susan from Birmingham, Al.

    Maybe you can call me rich, but my husband and I have always saved
    our money for retirement, we have a comfortable savings plan going on.
    Even when the economy was rockin we always saved for our golden years. The thing that worries us is the taxes and inflation that will be coming in the next several years. Thats why my parents always taught
    me to prepare for hardships and save your money!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  71. DW Gard

    It means the cost of living has out stepped wages to a point that Americans are unable to save. The other problem is we have become a consumer society where growth is based on what we spend.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  72. Gary H. Boyd

    It means now's a great time to buy stock in companies that manufacture mobile homes, tents, cots and camping supplies There's gonna be one hell of an audience for such things when folks are forced to downgrade. 43% of Americans with less than $10,000 in savings is tragic. I thought the boomers and hippies were supposed to be smarter than that.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  73. Maria

    For me it means downsizing even furthur...maybe to dog-house size, w/dog size amounts of monthly groceries, no health care, the loss of my home (which lost $90,000 in value this year), the sale of all my assets(except my dogs). I don't buy new clothes, or used clothes any more, so that will end in wearing rags and going barefoot. I only have one pair of shoes now. I'm looking for a warm street grate in my town. Already have the tin cup.

    I think it may be worse for lots of people who plan even less than I have.




    March 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  74. The Broker.

    "Thats more than I had. But then I was/am a skilled technician. So I can fix most of what I need. You can't put a price on education. If you are Dim, 100.000 wouldn't be enough."

    March 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  75. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Why save? The dollar is not going to worth spit by the time most people retire so go for the gusto and live for today.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  76. Keneth in Denver

    And the Republicans want to privatize retirement coverage? The best way to fix Social Security retirement benefits is to mke everyone pay their fair share. Start making those who have annual income of $125,000 or more pay FICA on their full income like the rest of us. Problem solved with Social Security stability!.

    Can someone tell me why middle class voters continue to protect the wealthy?

    March 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  77. Frank Henry

    I watched one of CNNs pin striped suit anchors comment on this subject today. What a joke. Do the people making comments on this not know the money distribution in the USA. The 2% with 98% of the money. The vast majority of American citizens our the two parents working to keep their kids in school hoping to find a way to send them on to college or trade school, the employed, the uninsured, people with their 401k's wiped out by the greed of Banks and big business, houses losing the value to the tune of 50% or more. On top of this they have a totally dyfunctional congress for the people except for the ability to bail out the people that put up the money to elect them and got us in this position in the first place. Big business lobbyist providing legal bribery. A crime these non savers for retirement would go to jail for. This clown (anchor) wanted people to save at least 10% of their money for life, get a financial advisor, because he said they might want to belong to a golf club when they retire. What an ass. It is amazing to me how out of touch the congress, wall street, tv anchors, and the media in general is with the plight of the American people.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  78. Paul P

    It means that most of these people are stretched thin already and are more in need of addressing the here and now. If the government is racking up insurmountable debts, how do we expect individuals to do any better? The bigger problem is that the baby boomers are going to start retiring in mass in the next two decades and that's going to be a huge drain on the economy unless we start planning for that now. If thats possible.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  79. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Once you put money in the bank. The Bankers steal by charging fees. Then Dumbledoor and Merlin down at the treasury fire up the old money machine causing your hard earned money to loose value. Buy Gold grow food.......

    March 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  80. Ed from California

    It must be nice to live in your world Jack. In my world; gas prices are high once again. Food is expensive, Insurance in general is expensive, Utilities are high. Prices in general are high. But, it's all good. Why? Because our wages are low. China is about to foreclose on us. And Wall st is making money again, at our expense. The Republican Party must be having a great big, "Republican Party". You are what you vote!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  81. Mike in St. Paul

    I don't know about those financial planners' information. Most people don't have pensions anymore.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  82. Dennis North Carolina

    who can save?

    March 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  83. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, it means that more and people are learning a cold, hard fact. And that is that they cannot trust the current government, ALL THREE BRANCHES, to do what it takes to solve the economic crisis and bring about conditions that result in everyone having a job who wants one. So they dip into their savings to try and cover expenses, staving off what may end up in finding a vacant spot to hold a cardboard sign and beg for money. Good luck finding that vacant spot, as most are likely already claimed. And that is a sad commentary on our government today.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  84. Ken in Pinon Hills California

    It means the market is the closest thing to perpetual motion. It ravishes our income and the middle class workers ability to see any value in their savings. It is perpetual inflation that will consume our savings, I should know, I'm 81 years old.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  85. Jeannette, Toronto, Canada

    If this is news to others, where have they been living, in another universe? Over the 30+ years, as an American living in Canada, the decline in the social structure was apparent....but, unfortunately when those refusing to read the W R I T I N G ON THE W A L L, still wonder when this all came about...WELL, stop and smell the B.S. that has been put out there for all those years....Canada may not be perfect but we do have health care and maybe our economy is great, (now that we have a Bush/Cheney Right Right Wing Federal Government, not for long), we are struggling just like my American Family, no health care, etc etc etc...but, oh yea Sarah Palin admitted to using our system, even though she is fighting to give those Americans a better health system....WOW what goose flock does she belong to? Good luck my fellow Americans! Somebody better put coffee in those tea party cups, TEH TEH

    March 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  86. Helen Canada

    We worked hard,for 40 years but I always remembered my mother she used to hide money bihind the icons.We all children knew were the money was but because the Icons we would never dare to touch it.
    She always had money for rainy days. So do we and now over 65 we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Never got greedy in stock markets.,just the regular high savings interest. Just bean by bean we filled up the sack.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  87. DJ from Fort Walton Beach, Florida

    THat their money is in congress's pockets or somwhere else where it doesnt belong...a true shame.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  88. J Montany

    It just means that even though the official retirement age will be 60-something (depending on when you were born), the actual retirement age will be much later. So in effect we will have gone back to the days where the vast majority of people worked until they died, and only the lucky few ever retired. And usually didn't live long after that.

    Portland, OR

    March 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  89. cy gardner

    It means for years workers have had less money available to save. Salaries have been frozen or disappeared. The real estate bubble drove up housing costs and rents. The price of houses came crashing down, but rents stayed artificially high, so we have to spend more on shelter than our parents did. Insurance company premiums go up 15 to 40% every year. Gas is no longer cheap. In the 80s electronics and cable tv were cheap. Not anymore.
    Politicans let businesses soak us and cheat us and treat consumers and employees like dirt. We can barely keep up with the liars and cheaters who are too greedy to care about what happens to America as this century progresses. That's why so many people can't save and that's why life in America will be really, really ugly in the not too distant future. cy from arlington, va

    March 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  90. Melissa

    Mean? its that most people can't afford to save or live properly because they're being robbed by greedy corporations and a government thats allowing the corporations to do it.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  91. Alex in Gig Harbor

    It means that many of us are living paycheck to paycheck. I had $3,000 in an IRA before the economy imploded. It is worth much less now. It just means most Americans don't receive million dollar bonuses every year.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  92. Lynn

    It means that a lot of Americans are depending on Social Security/Medicare to get them through retirement. It also means times are hard and spending now to live is a must if you want to get to retirement with a few things paid off, like a home.
    I think your stats should show the income of this 43%, just to put the question into a better prospective. Lynn, San Diego

    March 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  93. Paul

    Not enough people have had a chance to be elected to the U.S. congress!!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  94. David in San Diego

    It might mean that the sample is tilted toward very young workers. Who knows?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  95. Lynda from NC

    I'm not surprised, I'm 25 yrs old and have a retirement account, but none of my friends do and they all think I'm crazy when I tell them to start saving because our generation won't get social security – its going to be broke by then! All I feel is pitty for the people twice my age who have insufficient savings, but what are you going to do? Forced savings (AKA social security taxes) certainly didn't work.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  96. cy gardner

    The future is bleak. Companies don't want to hire anyone over 45 because they make too much money and cost too much to ensure. I'm going to have to work until I drop dead or my company goes out of business. If the latter happens, I will probably spend my "golden" years under a bridge. Our government and the corporations who own it have proved over and over again: They hate US!
    cy from arlington, va

    March 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  97. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Yes Jack,and the do nothing congress has blown 10 trillion dollars
    of 5 decades of the SS trust find.................every penny.What a shame
    on our govenment to do that with the people's money they worked so hard for.Had that money been put in a simple bond fund these folks would have plenty to retire on.
    Thank you, do nothing selfserve congress how you could not be ashamed I will never know.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  98. george coleman

    It means that they have the wrong idea concerning retirement. That is something only those who are now retired or about to retire are concerned with. The rest may as well forget about it and accept working until they die like most of the rest of the world. Congress will take care of that if they haven't already. Do away with the bastards/bitches and we'll call it even. Realistic in Kentucky

    March 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  99. Ralph Spyer

    Right now the top 5% of Americans wage earners pay for 90% of the federal taxes without these few the rest of us would up the river with out the paddle. Social Security is broke and the only thing the Government can do is print more money making the money you now have wortless or we can all work till we drop dead.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  100. Marion/Birmingham,Al

    It means we are Taxed too Much.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  101. Keith Lee

    Keith from Alabama writes,

    It means that this system is really beginning to suck for a lot of people. The rich will always be richer, Congress will always have another term, and us poor people will still be poor. Until we all get over the bias and bigotry we have between each other and start working together to build wealth from the bottom up, these truths will be self-evident. Unless we all learn how to effectively use Capitalism and Government, they will continue to use and abuse us, waiting on a vote or an opportunity to cut your hours, your paycheck, or your job.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  102. Scott Stodden

    I think it means that we need to create jobs and fast in this country, pass affordable health care for all and take care of our seniors who worked so hard for so many years of there lives. This is a shame when seniors have to wait till there basically on there death bed to retire, America should and needs to take care of our seniors better! They deserve to be taken care of and not have to worry about if they'll be able to afford to live when they retire!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    March 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  103. Linda in Arizona

    It means a lot of Americans don't have enough money to retire. Why does it need to "mean" something else?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  104. Miss M

    Jack, for people living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, saving for retirement is next to impossible. I am one of those 43 percent and the way I see it, I'm grateful that I'm able to support my kids, give them a nice home, nutritious meals and send them to school in clean clothes. Saving for retirement simply has to wait until either I have fewer expenses or more income.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  105. Mari, Utah

    Oh Jack, that's terrible! We are a consumer driven society, always competing with the Joneses. So its no surprise to me, that 43% of Americans have not saved for their retirement!

    March 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  106. Banned in Hartwell GA

    I've always considered myself as lower-middle class, but I guess I have to upgrade to middle class. Not only do I have quite a bit more than the 43-percent, but I also have a military retirement to supplement my retirement.
    For the unlucky 43-percent I have to wonder how many of them spend money on a lifestyle they can't really afford? How many of them think they have lots of years left to plan for retirement? It might not be as bad as it sounds...people are learning to live on less.
    Hartwell GA

    March 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  107. Peggy Spokane,WA

    It probably means that there will be lots of family meetings to decide where mom and dad are going to live. It means that we are headed back to multi generationals living under one roof.
    Tell my kids, I like earth tones will you?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  108. Summer, Denver

    Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Retirement is an illusive dream to most and a luxury to the few who can afford it.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  109. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    At least it's not the Great Depression: The Sequel!

    March 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  110. Zach - DC

    Its not a question of not being able to save – its a question of not wanting to. If you are in retirement age right now and aren't close to your goals thats your fault for not saving over a lifetime of working. Its not a representation of the economic climate. Maybe the economic climate is a representation of your inability to prioritize.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  111. Brian Smith PhD

    The days of retiring at 80% of your previous earnings are long gone. Moreover, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) says currently Americans have only about 4 percent disposable personal income. I suspect the BEA has juiced that number a bit. I believe we have been running about 5 percent negative regarding personal savings for the last five years. That means most of the middle class is living hand to mouth, pay check to pay check. Answering your question, it means fat cat big business, (in all industries), have out priced the consumers. That means we will not be buying durables. That will take the profit out of American enterprise. Can you say “doom” ?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  112. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Well after the Republicans let the companies of America rob the people blind on Wall Street, then trick our so-called Representatives in Congress into taking our collective public monies to save their failed business practices of trickled down economics, how can we save if we are going to make it through to the next week while we pay our ever increasing bill and day to day cost. We can't!

    March 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  113. Jim

    That's no great surprise to me Jack because those who are nearing or at retirement age were the "boomers" or the NOW and ME generation. It's was hard to break old habits and they'e lived on credit cards and overdue loans for a long time. It's hard to catch up when you're behind. It's going to be interesting to see how they make it particularly with high gas prices, high medical and drug bills, and kids in college. Not a pretty picture.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  114. Lori Coulson

    It means there's never enough money left after paying the bills to save. Wages are stagnant, and for many, jobs are non-existent. When is our government going to wise up, bring back the WPA and expand the CCC, and put our people back to work?

    We'd have plenty of money to employ and help AMERICANS if that Republican twit, G.W.B., hadn't catapulted us into two undeclared, illegal wars.

    A New Deal Democrat in Columbus, Ohio

    March 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  115. A. Smith, Oregon

    What's news with that Jack?

    When Bush-Cheney destroyed America's economy and took much of the world's economic base with them, individual 401Ks lost 30-50% of their value.

    People wonder why MD's and Hospitals are now charging high markup's, its so they can quickly recoup their stock market losses by duping their customers into paying higher prices.

    Also JACK, the dollar has lost about 30% of its previous world value, so people really lost a great deal more than many realize.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  116. dennis, penndel,pa

    it says' alot about the lack of our financial education. i was never tought in school how to save let alone how to use a credit card and what the interest is and how it works. of those 43%, how many know that they have to put 10-12% of thier pay into a k plan or an ira? the company i work for had a seminar to teach us. i had already worked over 10 years prior to that. i lost alot of compound interest. the economy also has alot to do with it also. people are using the savings just to get by until they find a new job.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  117. Andrew, Amherst NY

    Why save money when the government has "promised" you a check every month when you hit 67??

    March 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  118. John DeMartini

    It means far too many people bought into the idea that everything was always going to be rosy and government was going to take care of us if there were rough spots. Well we have arrived and government is really taking care of us.

    John – San Antonio

    March 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  119. Sheena

    Golden years, yea the have all worked hard all their lives, paid into he government for medicare and SS,and some snot nosed tyrant comes along to take it all away from them...Outrageous...
    The whole damn White House Administration, should not have their retirement that is paid for by us, they should Have it Mandatory to take any Health Care they pass for Americans for them and their families, No Perks for them either......Let them all get robbed like they are doing to the Seniors and Americans....What is good for the Goose is good for the gander, we pay them their wages and they rob what we have left...Tyrants, dictators, Impeach, get rid of them

    March 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  120. Jan in Washinton state

    They are in a world of hurt. I became disabled at 49 (just 6 yrs ago) and had 22 yrs in at my job. I had only $150,000.00 in my retirement and guess what it was worth after the last couple of years? I got to draw on it for 4 years as a supplement to my disability. I can now use it to buy a cup of coffee or a half gallon of gas once in a while.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  121. Rob in NC

    I have less than 1,000 in savings. I am a teacher and it is difficult to get by on the salary I have – feeding myself, my wife, and 2 kids. I fear for my kids because this only seems to get worse with every generation. Rob in NC

    March 9, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  122. Jim - MI

    It means that the redistribution of poverty that Obama has embarked on will not take as long as first thought. It is sad that people can work a life time and have so little to show for it, but at the same time people who have made a life out of receiving public assistance and free handouts are seeing their "entitlements" expanded.

    CNN did a story on a boy in California, I think his name is Carlos – his parents appear to be illegals and the report ask what will happen to Carlos if budgets are cut. Where is CNN with balanced reporting? where is the report showing families losing their homes because they cannot afford to pay the taxes that are needed to fund the programs for Carlos and millions of other people who receive benefits but never have, never will pay taxes to provide for those programs?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  123. Trish in Ohio

    Because of economics, we now have 5 generations of workers competing for jobs in the marketplace. This is why putting everyone back to work will be so hard–there just aren't that many jobs to be created. My 80 yr old mother still has to work part-time to be able to pay the Medicare Gap insurance premium while my kids, graduating from college, are having a hard time getting a job. I'm now finally under-employed in a short-term Reinvestment in America job after 18 months of unemployment.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  124. Bud McCathey, Louiville

    Have you seen the old Charlton Heston movie "Soylent Green", Jack?

    March 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  125. mike

    jack–i think it means millions of seniors deciding from month to month if they are going to pay for their food, utilities, or medicationsand rotating the list for the rest of their days

    March 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  126. Jasmine in Germany

    It means they didn't grasp the concept of "saving" early enough and fell into the trap of materialism, instant gratification, and overextending credit. (Reagon's economics, and G. W. Bush telling the country to "go shopping" after 911 probably didn't help). The US is one of the hardest working nations in the world, yet too many retirees have a pitiful existence. It's very sad, indeed.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  127. Homeless D in Atlanta

    Well, who are we talking about here? The people almost ready to retire? Young workers just starting out? Or the poor slob who just lost his retirement nest egg in the economic disaster? (Like my husband and myself) (and when I say I am homeless, it's the truth!)

    It means that (1) maybe about that same percentage of people don';t make enough money to save a dime, and really don't even make enough to pay for the basics, and (2) The "haves" finally accomplished their goal.

    I am astonished that the percentage with savings is so high.

    Oh yeah, and HOW MUCH do those folks have saved, anyway. Enough to retire on? enough to keep them afloat if they suffer some job loss or major health issue?

    It's not only the percentage of Americans who HAVE savings, but what they have, and how long they expect it to last once they have to start SPENDING it.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  128. Marie


    It means that seniors have been doing what most Babyboomers have been doing for years; living above their means and expecting Social Security and Medicare to take care of them. The problem with that is that Medicare has to be cut big time or we are all going down with it!!!! Perhaps it's time for familes and communities to take care of thier old? The government cannot do everything and take care of everyone where is gthe personal responsibility??? If we do not cut Medicare and Social security which is not more than half our budget we the younger generation will be carrying them not providing for our own futures.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  129. ron - american living in Copenhagen

    it means something is very very wrong with the system - unless you are a senator or congressman - then you are safe

    March 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  130. steve- virginia beach

    It means that the New World Order and 40 years of other bad policies and leadership have crushed the American dream for most of us. And that we don't sufficiently educate ourselves before voting. The fact that it got worse once the Democrats took control means that we're experiencing change that we better not believe in. We are the same country that turned a depression into prosperity in short order yet most folks with an opinion can't tell us how we did it or why modern policies are better than the ones that created the prosperity. The book on prosperity being available to all has been written but we refuse to read it.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  131. Shirley aka Tillie

    We are broke and have been broke.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  132. Ken in NC

    Jack, it doesn’t say much. You see, people with $20,000 are in no better shape than the 43% with less than $10.000.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  133. Don

    And the republicans want to privatize social security!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  134. Kelli

    It means exactly what you alluded to: the mere cost of living for so many of us warrants a lifestyle found in barely making rudimentary ends meet, much less satisfying any desires for saving.

    Columbus, OH

    March 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  135. Dave in Nashville

    It means retiree's will be reluctant to strut around once they realize how fortunate they are since so many got hurt by companies and government. Dam shame. Expose the real thieves that play golf all day.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  136. Jonathan Brown

    Hi Jack,

    The fact that 43% of Americans has saved less than $10,000 for retirement signifies the death of the American Middle Class. When are we going to wake up and see that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? No democracy has ever existed on this planet without a vibrant and thriving middle class.

    -JB from Albany, NY

    March 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  137. Jeffrey Genser

    It means the evil powers will succeed in turning America into a third world country within 15 years.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  138. Lisa

    Hi Jack,

    This means that companies will need to start hiring coroners to be on staff so they can immediately seek out candidates to fill the open position.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  139. Fred from San Bernardino, California


    I'm 39 years old and i can see that i'll have to keep working until i'm 70 years old. I haven't saved a dime and i've spent over 1/4 of a million dollars that i've earned over the years. So, as i'm getting older, i have to think seriously about saving for retirement if i don't want to live on SSI alone.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  140. Sherry

    It means too many people myself included have let the Market rule them. Not anymore. I have nothing left. I am sixty this year. Retirement? It is for the wealthy. Wall St., the Banks, have stolen from the poor. 401 K's, CD's low interest, etc.The wealth did not Trickle Down. It will never trickle down. That is obvious with where we are today!

    I will work until the day I die. I will enjoy everyday of the rest of my life, in knowing I made an honest living. I did not cheat, steal, and I won't owe anyone after I am gone. Amen.
    "Enough is enough in this culture of GREED"

    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  141. Ted

    I am 79 years old. I retired last year. I didn't mind that, at all, but that's what you need to do if you want a decent retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  142. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    It means they don't work for the government which has lavish retirement and health care provided from the public sector. Everyone should work for some government entity and the problem is solved. Welcome to the world of 'Alice in Wonderland'. Trouble is we are never going to get out of this rabbit hole. You've heard of the 'black holes'. This is it.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  143. Mike Adamson

    Means 43% of Americans better get used to living well below their current means

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  144. Sandra Jones

    .......Wait till those 43% find out in a couple of years that their $10,000.00 is only worth about $1000.00, with the way we keep printing money!!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  145. Walt

    Amazing that so of us cannot afford to retire. Maybe we need some jobs as CEO's of the companies we all bailed out. I want to be CEO of Goldman-Sachs. Hell, he got a $9 million bonus. Way to go!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |

    It means that if George Bush had gotten his way and privatized social security our seniors would be forming bread lines. America has been the land of the rich and the sea of the swindled. Now precisely the same scam is playing itself out for health care. If health reform goes down to defeat the Republicans will destroy Medicare in the name of fiscal responsibility and social freedom. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  147. Ken Smith

    We have traded our security for a bunch of stuff that adds little or no value to our lives. We are consumers who proudly wear the "brand" of that stuff. Fortunately we are all entitled to what others have which makes me wonder what will happen when pretty much everybody has nothing.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  148. PsiesDrom

    Dear Jack,

    It's kind of sad to hear that the world's only superpower is not capable of taken care of their elderly.


    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  149. Karl from SF, CA

    My guess is with the job losses over the past several years and the enormous increases in health care costs for many during the same period, anyone that had a reasonable saving account is no longer in a position to retire at all. The only saving grace will be a big increase in decent low-income senior housing and I don’t mean ghetto projects.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  150. r

    It means, the USA can eventually be a 3rd world country and still be a super power. It wasn't about oil or democary to the muslim world. It was about making our general population pay the same price for oil, etc. while the greedy keep getting richer. Can millionaires still collect SSI and Medicare?

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  151. Stuart Maschke

    This statistic is frightening for this country's future; but it's misleading if it excludes defined benefit pension plans. A plan such as that is equivalent to having hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  152. Jamilah

    It means that someone else will be left holding the bag. That someone is likely to be the retirees' adult children, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  153. Beth Calaveras County CA

    Have lived simple and frugal and used to be teased by some for my lifestyle. The same people who lived high on the hog when times were great with no thought to the future.

    Should I feel bad for them now that they are out of a job, have had to foreclose on their McMansion, and cannot take the big vacations they used to brag about? No.

    Media needs to start paying more attention to those who live simple lifestyles and aren't suffering because of forethought and wise planning.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  154. Nathaniel (San Francisco, CA)


    It means that in few decades we're going to have a workforce of Walmart greeters.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  155. Chris Messina

    Desperation will force many retirees to take great losses on anything of value. I imagine a housing crises much greater than the one we see today, a government forced to subsidize an entire generation and a deficit that stretches to the moon and back. Oh wait! That's already begun.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  156. frank dileo

    winter haven florida
    As one of those americans who have less than 10k in my retirement at age 38 (actually zero) i have made my peace with the fact that i will probably be carted from my desk to my coffin. times were better at one point and i had the money but had to spend it to live so dying wasnt on my priority list

    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  157. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Adios. Some Americans are already getting more bang for their bucks in other countries and we can expect to see more to join them.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  158. dollarbill

    it means that we should all start learning to speak Chinese quickly !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  159. Derrek Michael

    We fashion ourselves world leaders but as you can see by our government's choices and our own that we are not leading into the future but spending our way to second class status as people and as country.... Not saving for our own future and not investing in future generations is the final chapter in a once great country.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  160. Kevin

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I'm 53 I have no retirement savings. I have worked all my life. I am going to improvise with a sailboat (home) and dock and sail where it is cheap.
    You can only depend on whats in hand and not on the government to take care of oneself. thanks

    March 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  161. Walt

    Amazing that so many of us cannot afford to retire. Maybe we need some jobs as CEO's of the companies we all bailed out. I want to be CEO of Goldman-Sachs. Hell, he got a $9 million bonus. Way to go!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  162. Tim in Texas

    From the comments I've read here, it means that a lot of Americans who are currently driving around in $40k cars and taking their pets in to have $100 grooming sessions are going to blame the government for their problems. We need to put a maximum wage in place and tie capital gains taxes to income taxes and everybody will be fine.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  163. Paul in New Jersey

    After 30 years of conservatives having their way in Washington, no wonder we are seeing yet another measure of how the gap between rich and poor is widening. But remember, we still can't have meaningful financial regulation because that would interfere with the "free market". And we cannot have national healthcare because that is "socialist". They've got us in a box, don't they?

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  164. John

    This country needs to learn delayed gratification. We hear stories about mortgages that lead to foreclosure and credit card fees that are too high. Now we hear Americans are not or cannot save for retirement. The banks and credit companies share blame, but why do these stories never show us what was bought with the credit cards that led to the high balance or what people are spending money on instead of retirement. Next time we hear about a person who can't save for retirement, let's take a look at what kind of car they have and where they are spending their money. Personal responsibility has got to be included in the approach to solving these issues.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  165. Nick McFadden

    Our society is upside down. Most folks don't want to accept any responsibility for their well being, thus this number is no surprise.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  166. Pamela holt

    Foley, al. It means that we should all have gotten into politics and went to congress. In the past week we"ve been hearing about the wealth they have accumulated, oh that"s right, because of the secret deals they make with big buissinesses, we poor and middle class cannot afford to save for retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  167. Joan

    It means that we'd better change our expectations of what to expect at the end of our lives. Instead of retiring to luxury golf course communities for the elderly only, many of us will be returning to the patterns of our grandparents, and moving in with our kids. My three children know that after a divorce & a failed business their mother is going to be working for the rest of her life, and all three have made it clear that we are a family and they will support me as I have supported them. Is this so bad? Maybe not – I hate golf and love grandchildren!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  168. Norm Collins

    Approaching retirement myself, my observation is that most people I know never learned the difference between "what you need" and "what you want".

    Knowing the difference, and limiting my spending over my adult life, I am ready and anxious to get to it...

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  169. John Bussey

    Most of the american people still believe social security will be their safety net. Few realize the social security trust fund has been put in the general fund and our representative are spending it. This is also interesting since our representatives are't relying on social security for their retirement., they've built in a golden parachute for themselves. This is probably a simplification but acurate.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  170. Tom

    It means there is going to be a much greater need on social programs, especially medicare/medicaid, or people will be flat out dying in the streets! Almost sounds funny, but instead a sad fact!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  171. Meredith

    My husband's retirement disappeared the day his job was outsourced back in 2002. I guess The Republicans believing that giving corporations financial incentives to outsource those High Tech jobs was a much better idea than keeping those Secured High Tech jobs here at home.

    So For the last 8 years he has been working as a 1099 with different consulting companies, working for their clients on temporary jobs. Of course the Key Word is "Temporary". But at least it is in his field of work.

    We have managed to keep our heads above water. And contradictory to what a lot of idiots believe - We never did live above our means, that is how we keep our heads above water. -

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  172. Rich, Sacramento CA

    I would like to know what ages this survey encompasses. I would also like to know the results by age group in order to better interprate the data. While alarming as a presumed average of workers aged 18 to 62, I think the youngsters could be skewing the data. Greater detail might reduce the sensationalism for the show though.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  173. Justin

    It means people haven't yet learned the value of sacrificing today for the value of tomorrow...Instead people are living for today and sacrificing the future. Most people can make sacrifices, do you really need that brand new iphone, flat screen tv's, cable tv, internet, the newest computer, newest car, eat dinner out all the time etc...There are libraries, over air tv, inexpensive unlimited phone plans, board games, used cars, garage sales, thrift stores, dinners at home etc...live below your means and then you can save. My heart goes out to the unemployed that are struggling but those that hav
    e jobs but aren't saving have to learn to make sacrifices.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  174. Kate in Iowa

    It means that 57% of the population is planning on someone else providing for their retirement and don't care they are a burden to the miniscule percentage of the population that is preparing for the future, by living with their means in the present. Once again, we have a media personality that will do anything from pointing the finger of personal responsibility back to the individual.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  175. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, without medical insurance we won't live that long anyway.Jack from Nice Ca.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  176. Eric in NJ

    It 's because the wealth has shifted so far to one sector of the population, that it is almost impossible to catch up. Even during the past 2 decades we saw our economy and wealth expand massivley, while the average household income declined. As goods became more expensive, we as a country said it would be better to ship manufacturing over seas and make things cheaper rather than try and make sure people were getting paid decent wages so they could afford rising costs. That would mean successful business men would have to take pay cuts though. You want to know why people can't afford to save for retirement? It's because we're too busy paying for the retirements of CEO's and government officials. Maybe that was the plan all along. You need a country in need to keep them voting for you.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  177. Charley Willmon

    Jack, I am licensed in 5 states for herbicide application and cannot find work these past 9 months....the last company worked would rather hire cheap labor from Mexico, Guatalema, etc. for the work. This same company hired and fired 3 "Americans" due to the wages as stated from the owner of the company. Now, I live in Alabama My wife and I we have little to live on as we are both in our mid – late 50's. Everything we get, I am on unemployment she was denied both unemployment and her disability....our food stamps have been reduced from $134 to $89 r/month because (and this is weird), we let me state it correctly; ..."because your household had a decrease in income." What the hell!!? Our retirement is at an end this July 2010.

    Something wrong w/everything in this country.........

    Charley Willmon
    Double Springs, Alabama

    March 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  178. Arcy

    It means that it's time to stop buying your $4.25 latte every morning. It's time to drop that $80 /mo. cell phone for a trac-phone. It's time to drop that $140/mo cable television bill, and lastly; it's time to enact a tax system that doesn't tax us on money needed for the basic essentials of life! Oh, wait. That plan has already been drafted – It's called the FAIR-TAX.

    New York, NY

    March 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  179. Susan

    Jack, it means that I will have to work for as long as I can then I will become a bag lady.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  180. Partha Dutta

    Jack, you never read any of my comments to your questions placed to the viewers – I hope you will read this one.

    I don't have enough saved to retire in this country now or ever, so I can either figure some other way out or work under the golden arches during my golden years until I drop dead. I have chosen the former and bought a 2-bedroom condo in India (where I am originally from), and planning to retire there soon. I am not going to continue to work in this country to pay for bankrupt social security and medicare taxes as well as Fed and State taxes which don't seem to do much for me. Adios Amigos – I hope you have an alternative like mine to fall back onto. Getting my US citizenship was a terrible waste of money and legal fees.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  181. tim cusick

    people don't have income to support personal health care, student loans, rent or house payments. health insurance sucks the life out of almost everyones budget. the working poor are struggling to pay for food, gas, and shelter. unemployment and underemployment are more common today than any time in my life. face it jack retirement is a thing of the past.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  182. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    It means they depended on the government far to long to provide them their retirement. That's the problem Jack, most people think the government will take care of you. I have been saving for retirement since day 1 in the workforce. My advice to young people just getting started is: live within your means, invest money in IRA accounts and save save save. For the people who are in their 60's with no money saved for retirement, oh well.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  183. Matt from Atlanta

    It means too many baby boomers were too busy keeping up with the Jones', living the life they couldn't afford.

    It also means that those of us who lived responsibly will have to bail out these irresponsible people in our not so golden years.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  184. Gary

    It means Jack, the conservative Republican agenda is alive and well. Elect more of them this year and in 2012, and they can lead us the rest of the way to the second Great Depression.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  185. Steve saltzman

    Millions of us (Americans ) who live outside the US have been watching bad decisions turning the country into a true third world nation with the few wealthy living behind protected gates. All third world countries have their elite with incredible wealth surrounded by the masses who live lives of desperation. Even poor people here (and in most of Europe Australia etc at least have proper medical care). Keep voting for republicans, they'll finish the job. How pathetic!!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  186. concerned graduate

    Simply put this equates to less job openings for America's talented youth. The younger generations trying to get their first jobs are the ones that will truly suffer from the older generations not retiring.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  187. Irving Zeitlin

    It was tough saving and bringing up a family. I worked 2 jobs and couldn't save. I am, now, retired and gladly so. I am not happy that Congress defeated the $250 stimulus bill, because of "no cola" this year. It was OK to bail out the car companies, wall street and the banks. Let the congressmen and senators try living on a social security pension, with rising prices. They couldn't care less.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  188. matt

    I now live in a country where my dollar is bigger and the sun shines everyday. I love the US I left 5 years ago. I live in a safe city and the people treat me with respect. Incidentally I live on my retirement money which is very low. I live here happily. Tell everyone to rethink the rest of their life and location. No dishonor in being happy.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  189. B. Chernick

    What does it mean that 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings for retirement?

    It means that millions of Americans will vote for the politician who promises the highest benefits. Need I elaborate?

    March 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  190. chad from WI

    I guess it means there is bound to be an even worse recession down the road as medical costs go up to pay for thier healthcare and taxes go even higher to pay for supplemental programs to help keep the elderly of the streets. In my entire schooling experience from grade school to college, never once was there ever a single lesson on personal financial budgeting and I have a Bachelors in Finance. Yes, even in college I was only taught how to work for other people. It's a shame that in our "get it now, pay later" society that seemingly no one teaches our children these important life lessons.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  191. DK

    We HAD a healthy nestegg started and plan but now, at 56 and over a year of unemployment from 18yr job with IBM (job offshored despite record profits!), we're draining those funds rapidly to stay afloat (college costs for 2 kids, house, etc), suspended savings-investments, insurance costs gone mad (from $288/mth to 1800/mth since IBM loophole they're pullng classing many of us as "retired" rather than laid off - thus no COBRA. Do I need to go on ?

    March 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  192. Mahmoud Ibrahim

    I believe that the goverment must do something to encourage people to save for their rtirement. Not taxing the first 100 K when withdrown from 401k at age at the retirement age is a good incentive. If applied today, it will help the economy to recover faster because the baby boomers are close to retirement and that will encourage them to leave their current jobs and use their money to start busunesses or pay off their homes. They will leave many open jobs opprtunities for the unemploye and job seekers..

    March 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  193. Tom Miletich

    The engine of a vehicle through various mechanical means connects to the transmision. Someone should tell these drivers of vehicles that have the tendency of accelerating out of control that the letter "N" on their transmission indicator means "Neutral" and regardless of what the engine is doing the car will not pick up speed and will eventually slow to a stop.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  194. Karen (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

    What it means is that 43% of the country can't save for retirement because they have to use every dime just to survive. Tell me how can you save for retirement if you are married, have kids, got an education, and make less than $50,000 a year? What a pipe dream!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  195. Russ

    Jack, Lost my job in 2003 due to corporate downsizing. I had to use my 401k to try to survive the many, many months it took to land another position at half the pay. I'm happy to say that the state and fed wiped out most of savings in taxes. Glad to know my money is now being used in road construction, paving a smooth path to hell for politicians (and brokers). Enjoy the ride...

    March 9, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  196. Walt

    I see alot of responses with alot of excuses. I know that most of the boomers decided to live at or above their means instead of saving. When the 401k plan was enacted, I was 28 and started putting in at least 10% of my income into it even though that was tough at times. I was fortunate enough to have an employer that also contributed some. There were many times with a young family that I was tempted to take out some of that money to cover some of the unexpected expenses that always come up. I always found another way. I think it's called dicipline. I knew that social security was not the pot at the end of the rainbow. I've been thru 3 stock market crashes but stayed on course. I plan on retiring with-in 2 years and I know I will be OK. I'm just a middle class person, which is the majority of the people in this country. The problem is my fathers generation was the greatest generation and we are the selfish generation. Most lived for today without a thought or worry about tomorrow.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  197. Ruby Zimmerman

    Young widows with 3 kids to get through college are not thinking about retirement. By working until age 76 I was able to put enough in an IRA that, along with Social Security benefits, will allow me to live for about 2 more years (I just turned 79).

    March 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  198. Sherry

    @Dollarbill Right on! Learn Chinese young people!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  199. Jim Twomey

    It means the good paying jobs we used to have, left the U.S. for more Corporate greed dollars. We have a bigger population by way of imigration, Legal & illegal eating our tax dollars like "termites @ a wood festival".

    You can't save because you don't earn enough, Businesses are doing away with pension plans which used to be a staple in this country. How are you supposed to save on 10.00 hr? I think this country is going to hell in a hand basket with a lead weight tied to it!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  200. Sam Elias,M.D.

    I am retired, and I am now 53 years old, When I was 34 years old, I was told I have a "Malignent Brain Tumor", maybe that is why I learned to save.
    I am also a first generation Immigrent, came to the US at age 10. I think most Americans have forgotten the concept of working hard and saving, and have become narcissitically driven by materialism...I pray that we'll wake up before its too late.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  201. lynne j.

    It means that the system failed minimum wage and average workers. With the price of rent, food, clothing, education, transporation and the dreaded healthcare who the heck can save? You're lucky that one can get a bunch of bananas for under 50 cent let alone saving for retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  202. Bill in Detroit - It's Obama!

    It means that our once first rate economy is rapidly turning into a third-world economy – led by our third-world president. Just wait until he's done, Jack, we'll all be on a rice diet.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  203. Gary

    There is no retirement anymore Jack. I concluded that some time ago. America the beautiful is cycloning down the big toilet hole.
    Sad isn't it, so sad.

    Thank you.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  204. Tony

    It simply means that only the rich are heard and cared for. The poor ones, the real people, are never spoken about when they divorce. Tiger Woods cheats on his wife, and the whole world knows. Hey Gov. OPEN YOUR EYES! Don't worry I will have visine.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  205. My Van Nguyen, San Jose CA

    As a matter of fact, I have less than $9,000.00 in my IRA at this time. Yet I owe to creditors over $50,000.00 in student loans and credit cards debts. With 2 bachelor degrees and numerous skills, I get discriminated against because of my extensive education and my age.

    I begin to despise this society for its tendency to cutting aid to the working class and of providing welfare to rich individuals, corporations, and Wall Street crooks.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  206. anthony

    It just means you should be incharge Jack, you speak not only your thoughts but you speak the things that are needed to be said.

    Your the man Jack

    March 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  207. Tantoo Cardinal

    guess they'll have to do like Indian Country and family takes care of their elderly.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  208. Cindy Bailey

    I would like to know when I moved to China or Russia? When will law makers draw the line? Now they want to tax sweetened soft drinks under the pretext that it's for the general public health? When are we going to stand up for our rights? This is just another way for the government to tax us poor suckers to death...who cares how big we get, when we'll just starve to death? I'm sick to death of the "taxes" that is suppose to improve my life!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  209. Tony

    It simply means that neither the GOP or DEMS, give true care for the ones that are REALLY struggling in this day and age. Our stories are never heard, it's only stories of the stars that talked about. Many people cheat, Tiger Woods gets all the news when he does it. Speak to us, and real stories are said.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm |