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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Thirty-four percent of Americans have no retirement savings

Think about that for a couple of seconds - 34% of Americans don't have any retirement savings.

Now think about this - 27% have no personal savings. Just 18 months ago those numbers were moderately lower, at 30% and 22% respectively.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll, surveyed online in November 2010.

A couple of more things. 25% of Baby Boomers have no retirement savings nor do 22% of the 65+.

As I have been saying for the past 6 months, lots, probably the majority, of the older consumer are broke and have not way or the time to repair their wealth.

In the UK there was an interesting report of some research conducted by Santander Savings showing that those who took out mortgages between 2000 and 2010 will have an average ‘savings window’ of just 10 years. This compares with people who first bought properties in the 1960s who had an average savings window of 21 years.

Conclusion - people who have recently taken out mortgages, or are yet to do so, will find it far harder to save for retirement than previous generations.

Whether or not you are interested in the older market it must be clear to you that we are now witnessing a staggering disruption to the wealth accumulation process.

This is not something that will get better in a few months time. This is the new reality.

Martin Wolf (Financial Times) wrote a terrific article this week titled: “How the crisis catapulted us into the future.” This is the essence of what he said:
Every well-informed person knew that ageing would generate a fiscal squeeze in high-income countries as spending rose and growth slowed. The crisis has brought this forward by a decade. According to the IMF, general government net debt of the Group of Seven high-income countries will jump from 52 per cent of GDP in 2007 to 90 per cent in 2015. This does not mean hyperinflation or default. But managing public finances will govern politics for the foreseeable future. It will be a miserable experience.
Mix into the equation that we are experiencing an accelerated movement of economic activity from West to East (that is longhand for job creation) and it means that we have a completely new playing field upon which we execute our marketing games. The trouble is so far nobody seems to know the rules. Dick Stroud

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