In an era where more personal responsibility falls on your shoulders, how are you doing saving money?

More and more people nearing retirement are in a really tough spot with very little money saved and big amounts of debt hanging around their necks, according to USA Today.

Half of all workers are retiring now with less than $25,000 in total savings, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The National Institute on Retirement Security says the median amount of money people have saved for retirement is $12,000.

They're going to have Social Security and nothing else and that's not going to lead to a very pleasant old age! Meanwhile, more than 40% of retirees said their current level of debt is a problem.

The reality is that's going to be a tough game to play out for those folks. Those numbers will make for some uncomfortable golden years.

So what's the answer? More and more people are now saying they're postponing retirement. That is not a choice I would make for myself, yet it is a reasonable one.

Be realistic and make a smart call based on your situation. If you are at a relatively young age and want to retire, but find that your finances can't support it, work longer now while you're still reasonably healthy.

The tragic error too many make is to retire young and then reach a point later in their retirement years when they need money. But they're not well enough to go back to work at that point. Again, be realistic upfront.

Don't feel ashamed if you have to postpone retirement. Retirement is a modern concept that's only developed in about the last 100 years. But if the golden years are a priority, then you save and save and save and create that opportunity for yourself.

Finally, The Arizona Republic recently reported three quarters of companies that did away with 401(k) matches at the peak of the recession have now reinstated them. That's an instant pay raise; take the money and let it grow so you have choices later in life!

If you have a 401(k) plan at work, I want you to start small: Put in just 1%. Then every six months, step it up 1%. Believe me, you won't miss one penny out of a dollar if you do it slowly enough.



Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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