What have you learned about preparing for retirement?

Carla Carpenter Retirement Party
Photo by Grant Laird Jr via Flickr

“The warning delivered for years to people in their 40s and 50s: You never saved enough in good times, your home and investments took a huge hit in the recession and now, near retirement, there’s no easy way to catch up,” via the Daily Circuit.

“Personally, I think the gloom runs too deep. Still, saving is a good idea, and who doesn’t feel the need to set aside more for the last third of life?” writes Chris Farrell, economics editor of Marketplace Money and author of “The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live.”

Farrell says people buy into the financial services industry’s promise of big investment returns as the answer, and don’t focus enough on spending less in the decade before retirement.

People also assume thrift in the pre-retirement years means a reduced standard of living. Farrell says that’s not necessarily true.

“The Mad Men of advertising have done a bang-up job equating the good life with owning lots of stuff paid for on an installment plan,” he says. “A welcome side-effect of thrift is it’s easier to save, but far more important is the embrace of ‘judicious expenditures.'”

Farrell and CNBC consumer reporter Kelli Grant will be on the Daily Circuit at 10:20a this morning.

Gallup public opinion data indicates that the average American plans on retiring at 61. “The U.S. Census puts the actual retirement figure at about 64 for men and 62 for women,” writes Mitch Tuchman in Forbes. “The earliest age at which a U.S. taxpayer can collect Social Security is 62, and many do. Some might simply be tired of the grind and ready to jump ship as soon as they can.”

Today’s Question: What have you learned about preparing for retirement?