This is the title of an article on the website Pensionriskmatters, emphasizing the need to start saving for retirement early in your career. It’s hyperbole, but the article cites several websites worth a visit: The International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans includes educational materials on its website, one titled “Your Retirement Picture”. You can get a link to a Smart Money Retirement Calculator, although, as I’ve said before, these are general tools and not a substitute for individual planning. You might also check MyMoney.Gov, which is a US government website on financial matters; and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

On the same topic, the Employee Benefit Research Institute has conducted a survey on the savings accumulated by retirees. The survey is not classified by age of retirees, and its conclusions are based on the people who responded to the survey, but it’s interesting anyway: as of 2014, 29% of respondents had less than $1,000 in savings (not counting the value of defined benefit plans), while 17% had $250,000 or more. Those who participated in a retirement plan were definitely skewed toward the upper end of amounts accumulated, which illustrates an important but basic point: participating in programs where you automatically put money aside for retirement gives a definite advantage over developing that discipline outside of a retirement plan. Or, as I tell partners in my firm, if you aren’t saving the maximum through our 401(k) plan, you’re saving nothing outside the plan.