How to save for retirement

On the face of it, this is tragic and makes no sense.

In survey after survey, Americans say they’re worried about ending up at retirement without enough savings, Social Security or Medicare. Nevertheless, they let their 20s, 30s and 40s get away from them – saving too little and investing poorly – even though a 20-year-old could turn $25 a week into almost a million with little effort, and a determined 50-year-old could resusitate their future.

Twenty-something-year-olds skip investing in 401(k)s, even when employers would give them free money that could end up totalling over $200,000. Forty-year-olds are overwhelmed with families. And 50-somethings feel the retirement clock ticking, but fear it’s too late to fix their money.

All of this is sad and unnecessary: For most Americans it’s not their paychecks that stand in the way.

It’s knowing how much to save and how to invest.

According to Boston College research, 44 percent of today’s baby boomers and Generation X ers aren’t going to have enough money when they retire.

Why would this be?  As I’ve talked with thousands of readers over the years, many tell me they could have saved more, but didn’t know it mattered. They were confused about how to invest, and waited for a day when there were no bills -- a day that never arrives for any of us.

That’s why I am conducting a TribU seminar at 6 p.m. on January 10 here in the Chicago Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave., named after my book: “Saving for Retirement (Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery).”  (For tickets see

It should enable people of all ages worry less and help themselves avoid a needless tragedy.

It’s not rocket science.  It’s just that we all need a helping hand. 

-- Gail MarksJarvis, financial columnist

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