“Here is something every non-rich American family should know: The odds are that you will run out of money in retirement.
“On average, a typical working family in the anteroom of retirement — headed by somebody 55 to 64 years old — has only about $104,000 in retirement savings, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
“That’s not nearly enough. And the situation will only grow worse.
“The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates that more than half of all American households will not have enough retirement income to maintain the living standards they were accustomed to before retirement, even if the members of the household work until 65, two years longer than the average retirement age today.
“Using a different, more complex model, the Employee Benefit Research Institute calculates that 83 percent of baby boomers and Generation Xers in the bottom fourth of the income distribution will eventually run short of money. Higher up on the income scale, people also face challenges: More than a quarter of those with incomes between the middle of the income distribution and the 75th percentile will probably run short.
“The standard prescription is that Americans should put more money aside in investments. The recommendation, however, glosses over a critical driver of unpreparedness: Wall Street is bleeding savers dry.
“Everybody’s big focus is that we have to save more,” said John C. Bogle, founder and former chief executive of Vanguard, the investment management colossus. “A greater part of the problem is the failure of investors to earn their fair share of market returns.”
“His observation suggests a different policy prescription: shoring up Americans’ retirement requires, first of all, aligning the interests of investment advisers and their clients.”
Read the full New York Times article by Eduardo Porter here.