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Color of Money

Retirement Savings By the Book

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, April 10, 2005; Page F01

The retirement savings story in America plays like a scratched record. Again and again we hear the same line: Most people aren't saving enough for their retirement.

The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald & Associates this week released the results of its annual Retirement Confidence Survey. And guess what?

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Car Buying Doesn't Have to Be Combat (The Washington Post, Apr 7, 2005)
You Can't Save 'Too Much' For Retirement (The Washington Post, Apr 3, 2005)
Read Michelle's Past Columns

Same tune.

A majority of workers say they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement. While 7 in 10 workers report that they and their spouses have put something aside, by their own accounts it won't be enough.

More than half of those surveyed report that the total value of their savings and investments, excluding their primary home, is less than $25,000.

Does this sound like you? If so, what are you going to do about it?

Worry? Ignore the problem? Hope you hit the lottery?

Well, you could read April's Color of Money Book Club selection, "The Retirement Catch-Up Guide: 54 Real-Life Lessons to Boost Your Future Resources Now!" by Ellen Hoffman (Newmarket Press, $22.95).

"When the moment of retirement planning truth arrives, keep in mind that you do still have some decisions to make and some options from which to choose," Hoffman writes. "Instead of sticking to the same path you've always followed -- keeping the same job, retiring at the age you chose 20 years ago, and resigning yourself to a low-budget retirement, don't be afraid to consider other changes."

This is the second month in a row that I've selected a retirement book to discuss. That's because retirement saving is one of the most critical financial issues facing people today.

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