FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The United States is actually in worse financial shape than Greece and other debt-laden European countries when you add in all of the money owed to cover future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security obligations. That's what bond fund manager Bill Gross of Pimco told CNBC yesterday.
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But talk of reforming these so-called entitlement programs terrifies most Americans, especially after many saw their life savings evaporate during the Great Recession and the value of the home plummet.
According to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a whole lot of Americans have not saved enough for retirement and are going to have to rely largely on Social Security for their incomes as they age. The study also predicts that many Americans will have to work longer than planned - and many may end up working well into their 70s and 80s to afford retirement.
It's a depressing thought whether you're approaching retirement age or just planning to one day be able to afford it.
Americans are also living longer, and as a result the cost and quality of the health care available to them becomes more important. Seventy-two percent of non-retired Americans surveyed say the cost of health care will determine when they retire, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index.
We likely have seen the end of the gold watch, generous pension and company-provided health care for life that was a part of many of the previous generation's retirement. The golden years for many are shaping up to be more like brass.
Here’s my question to you: How has the economy affected your plans to retire?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Lisa in Shelton, Connecticut:
What plans to retire? Most who look at their post-George W. Bush 401(k)s understand that "retirement" will have to include some sort of additional income stream albeit far less technical or stressful than our career was. "Welcome to Wal-mart."
Bonnie in New Jersey:
If you mean do I plan on working until I drop dead on the job? Then, yes. (which after my Social Security and Medicare gets taken from me may be much sooner than anticipated.)
Ed in Texas:
The low interest rate environment prevents me from earning enough on my savings to retire. First it was the dot com bust, then the housing collapse. Jack, please tell me what bubble I should invest in next.
Bill in New Mexico:
I feel sorry for the future Americans wishing to retire. I think America may be moving into an era where only the top one percent will be able to retire in comfort.
Tom in Atlanta:
Jack I am retired, and it really scares me. Truth is, today I have converted 75% of my portfolio into cash. I am going to mitigate my risk by sitting this out for a year or two (or three) until I can see signs of fiscal responsibility in our government and stability in the markets. I'm scared as hell.
Nate in North Carolina:
As a young American who recently worked in H.R. during the U.S. Census, I employed many people who were desperate for a job. They were mainly citizens close to retiring or forced to retire due to their age. I am beginning to learn that I need to start now to take care of my physical health.
Lori in Pennsylvania:
I'm just trying to find a job. Retirement is the last thing on my mind.
Already has, Jack. The wife and I planned to travel after I retired 5 years ago. Really can't do that now with the cost of gas almost $4 a gallon and the fear that Paul Ryan and the Republicans may steal our Social Security and Medicare if they take over the White House, Senate and Congress in 2012. We will need all our savings just for food, housing and healthcare costs if that happens. There will be no money for "seeing the USA in the Chevrolet."