The U.S. is facing a retirement crisis. The simple fact is that most workers are saving too little to retire, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), which tracks pension issues. And workers are acutely aware of this.

An institute study released recently found that the percentage of workers saving for retirement dropped to 66 percent from 75 percent in 2009. One-third said they had saved nothing for the years when they were no longer working.

Of those surveyed, 28 percent had no confidence that they would have enough to retire comfortably and 21 percent were "not too confident."

So about half of American workers are facing retirement with considerable economic uncertainty, and with good reason: 57 percent of the workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in household savings and investments.

Meanwhile, many of those facing a pinched retirement, about 36 percent, planned to work beyond the minimum retirement age for Social Security of 62. But those plans might not always work out. The largest group of retirees does so at 62; only 14 percent retired after 65. EBRI says 47 percent of retirees left the workforce unexpectedly, because of health issues, job loss or disabilities.

Living only on Social Security guarantees a frugal retirement. Benefits max out at $1,320 a month, $15,840 a year, at age 70. And Congress, with Republicans anxious to trim entitlements, may shave that formula for future retirees. ...

Retirement money has to stretch further because we're living longer.


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According to a report by the Society of Actuaries, a male who turns 65 this year can expect to live another 20.5 years, a female another 22.7, an increase of roughly a year each over the decade.

... It's better to deal with the retirement financial crunch sooner rather than later, whether through better savings instruments, more incentives to save or even mandatory savings requirements.

Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press, March 25

Marriage may not always be as beneficial to spouses' health as previously concluded

There's more to the pledge to have and hold a spouse "in sickness and in health" than you might imagine.

New research indicates that marriage may not always be as beneficial to spouses' health as some experts have previously concluded.

But on the bright side, married people apparently feel better than their unmarried counterparts. Or at least they are more prone to describe themselves as healthier than they are.

Hui Zheng, lead author of the study at Ohio State University's Department of Sociology, said marriage is indeed good for the health of many people, but his research shows it doesn't work for everyone.

If you are already in poor health when you get married, don't expect any extra benefits. But if you are in good health, you are half as likely to die within three years as an unmarried person in good health.

Zheng concluded that marriage may help prevent people from getting sick, but it doesn't help when they are seriously ill.

The fact that married people are more likely to consider themselves healthy might have to do with the social support married people receive from their spouses, Zheng said.

And it might make it a little less sobering for a couple to pledge faithfulness "to death us do part" knowing they'll be feeling better along the way.

The Post and Courier of Charleston, March 25