Are You Winning the 'Retirement Gamble'?

Are You Winning the 'Retirement Gamble'?

America is in a retirement crisis.

One out of three Americans lacks any savings at all, and half of us aren't socking away enough for retirement. We need to save more because we're living longer, all while health care costs continue to soar.

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Meanwhile, we have increased responsibility for managing our retirement funds, but face a confusing array of investment and advice options.

It also hasn't helped that investors have experienced the popping of the dot-com and housing bubbles, as well as the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression in the span of less than a decade.

The enormity of America's savings problem has caught the attention of PBS's Frontline, which aired  "The Retirement Gamble" April 23.

Rolling the Dice On Retirement

The documentary found that high investment fees, conflicted financial advice and lack of government regulation contributed to the retirement crisis. Here are just a couple of the show's key points:

  • A pricey mutual fund with a 2% fee can diminish a nest egg by 63% over a 50-year period, according to calculations by John Bogel, founder of the Vanguard Group and a pioneer of low-cost index investing.
  • After Congress reacted to complaints from the financial services industry, the Labor Department, which regulates employee retirement accounts, had to pull a proposed rule that would require all financial advisers to be fiduciaries--meaning that they would have a legal duty to act in the best interests of their clients.

While Frontline did a solid job of outlining the challenges we confront in retirement, the documentary offered little in the way of solutions--except to save more, work longer and hope for new proposed rules from the Labor Department.

You can do better than simply work longer, and wait for Congress to act. Having a financial plan and unbiased advice can help you look to retirement as a comfort ... not a crisis.

Although the marketplace for financial advice is daunting, 15% of financial advisers offer clients guidance untainted by commissions and hidden fees. For example, a Certified Financial Planner® is required to act as a fiduciary.

Bottom line: With a comprehensive plan and a trustworthy coach on your side, you can improve your chances of winning the "retirement gamble."

Frontline explores America's savings slump with "The Retirement Gamble."

Watch The Retirement Gamble on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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