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Retirees: Get ready to live on $190 a month

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Are you prepared to live on $190 a month when you retire?

For most Americans in their 50s, that's all the personal savings they'll have to look forward to during retirement, according to Wells Fargo's annual retirement survey.

The survey, which polled nearly 2,000 middle-class Americans ranging from 20 to 60 years old, found that Americans aren't saving enough, they are underestimating the amount of money they will need in retirement, and they are more likely to end up working through retirement.

While most Americans predict they will need a nest egg of $300,000 to live on for 19 years in retirement, the average savings of 50-somethings is only $29,000, which comes out to an income of $190 a month over 20 years assuming a 5% rate of return.

"$190 a month is not going to cut it," said Laurie Nordquist, co-head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. "This reinforces the huge gap in terms of what people are going to need and what people have. They have a little time to add to that nest egg, but it's a huge shortfall to recover."

Even with Social Security or other sources of income, most people are not going to be able to cover basic needs with such a small amount of money, she added.

While you would think the recession is to blame for the lack of savings -- making it harder for people to tuck away money in retirement plans -- Wells Fargo found that people saved roughly the same amount during the recession as they did before.

According to the survey, only 33% of Americans have a detailed written retirement plan and 37% don't know how much the will need in retirement or how long they will be able to live on what they have saved.

"The last two years have been a wake-up call on some things on the financial front, but that wake-up call hasn't leaked into the retirement front," said Nordquist. "We're hoping that people in their 50s will realize that they need to take the time they have left to start making up that shortfall and creating a plan."

Unless that wake-up call comes, you could very easily find yourself working through retirement -- which more and more Americans are doing.

The survey found that 72% of Americans now expect to work through retirement, with 39% saying they will work because they have to and 33% saying they will do it because they want to. To top of page

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