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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Retirement crisis looms as Americans struggle to save

CNN — Eric Payne, a 37-year-old single father to two boys, works hard to stretch his paycheck each week. It’s a task he refers to as “clicking.”

He makes a good salary – in the $80,000 range – but by the time all of the essential expenses have clicked into place, there’s not much left to spare.

“The clicking is for day-to-day operations,” explained Payne, who works as the director of quality assurance for a seafood wholesaler near Portland, Maine.

“Groceries, car payment, mortgage, kids’ clothes, childcare, or figuring out how to cover an unexpected bill.”

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

“My financial focus has to be on the present, as every dollar counts,” he told CNN. “However, I am fully aware that I’m creating another problem for myself down the road.”

For now, his retirement plans sit on the back burner.

Budgeting for the future, he said, feels impossible. “It’s a constant battle, I guess I would say I always kind of feel like I’m getting kicked. I think I’ve got a handle on it and then something else comes up that I have to deal with.”

Between a 401(k) from a previous job and an employee stock ownership plan at his current company, he has less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

But he doesn’t expect to stop working at 65 and says he’ll likely have to keep earning money as long as his health allows him to.

Payne is far from alone in his struggles.

The retirement-savings cliff

The number of US workers in the labor market over the age of 75 is expected to nearly double over the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, creating a looming retirement crisis.

Retirement savings in the United States were long thought of as a three-legged stool. Americans had pension plans, Social Security benefits, and defined contribution plans like the 401(k). Not anymore.

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