a couple discussing retirement and 401k plans

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Some people say we’re a nation of optimists who believe everything will somehow work out all right in the end, and others say we’re a nation of ostriches with our heads stuck in the sand, but no matter how you look at it, a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)  found that almost 60% of all Americans have little or no retirement savings and virtually no plan for retirement – or they have a plan that is so off-base that it qualifies as no plan at all.  

The majority of Americans plan to continue working well into what would normally be considered their “retirement years.”  That is a plan, of sorts, but it is fraught with peril.  For example, what happens if illness or accident strikes and you are no longer able to work? What happens if no jobs are available, or the job skills you have are made obsolete?

Medicare and social security will help to some extent, but they alone are hardly sufficient for most people to maintain anything resembling their pre-retirement lifestyle. 
What Should You Do If You Have No Retirement Savings?

The answer to that question is somewhat contingent on how old you are and what your current health is. If you are in your 50s or 60s and you have little or no savings set aside then you have quite a challenge ahead of you.  The younger you are and the more money you can set aside the better off you’ll be, obviously.

Start saving today.  Even if you are in your 50s or 60s start setting aside as much as you can afford.  Obviously many people failed to establish a retirement account not because they refused to realize that they were getting older, but because they simply had no way to fund an account – in other words, they were living paycheck to paycheck and had no money left over for any type of savings.

If you are in that position, where you have no disposable income each month for such frills as retirement savings, then start cutting back on your continuing expenses.  If you own a home pay it off.  If you can’t pay it off, consider selling it and purchasing a smaller home that you can pay cash for.  Consider doing this even if you have to relocate to do so.

Try to find a place within walking distance of stores and other amenities so you can eliminate the use of your vehicle as much as possible.

Once your mortgage payments are eliminated, start growing as much of your own food as possible.  It probably won’t be possible to grow everything you need, but you can certainly cut down on your expenses.  Raising a few chickens for eggs can be not only rewarding, but can also save you quite a bit of money each year.
Will It Be Enough?
Cutting back enough to make whatever income you earn plus your social security pay for your retirement is an iffy proposition.  The first time you are ill and have to spend time in a hospital the game could be over.

Look everywhere, on the Internet and everywhere else for some type of passive income that will pay you even if you can’t work.  Finding such income is not easy, but then neither is not having any retirement income and looking at 15 to 20 years of surviving without a job.
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