America Saves Week 2013

America Saves Week is from February 25 – March 2.

Started in 2007, this annual event reminds us to focus on the importance of saving. To enjoy a comfortable retirement, we should save, invest, and plan throughout all of the stages of our working careers. Including the Social Security Administration, many national, regional and state groups participate in America Saves Week.

You can assess your personal savings progress and find planning tools at the America Saves Week website, One of these is the “Ballpark E$timate”, an easy to use interactive tool to help you identify about how much you need to fund a comfortable retirement. The “Ballpark E$timate” takes issues like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, and turns them into easy to understand results.   

Social Security retirement planning tools are at

Are you saving for retirement? Financial planners have told me that people need 70-80 percent of pre-retirement earnings for a comfortable retirement. Your particular plans are important in determining your needs but realize that Social Security will not provide all of your needed retirement income. 

Social Security replaces only a percentage of your pre-retirement earnings and was never intended to provide all of your retirement income. By design, Social Security amounts are computed so that lower-paid workers get a higher return than highly paid workers. For example, lower-paid workers could get a retirement benefit that equals about 55 percent of their pre-retirement earnings. The average replacement rate for highly paid workers is about 25 percent. 

In 2010, 88% of married couples and 85% of nonmarried persons aged 65 or older received Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, for many people Social Security is the major source of income. As reported in Facts & Figures about Social Security, 2012, in 2010 Social Security provided at least 50 percent of total income for 53 percent of age 65+ couples and 74 percent of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. Social Security provided 90+ percent of income for 23 percent of aged married couples and 46 percent of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. While Social Security is certainly very important, plan now so that Social Security is not your only source of retirement income.

How long are you going to live? When considering when to start your Social Security retirement benefits, one important factor to take into account is how long you might live.  

According to data compiled by the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 83. A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 85. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95. 

Your retirement can last many years. Plan for it.