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The Retirement Apocalypse Isn’t Coming

Don’t let vague fears of future trouble paralyze you now
The Retirement Apocalypse Isn???t Coming
Photograph by Alan Powdrill/Getty Images

Grandma’s much anticipated Arctic cruise becomes a slow drift away on an ice floe. Grandpa mortgages his kidneys to pay for a new heart. Social Security is deader than disco.

That bleak vision is only a slight exaggeration of the retirement catastrophes foretold by the media, financial firms, and many experts. It’s a scare tactic that’s moved the tone of the U.S. savings and retirement conversation from a constructive call to action to an alarmist frenzy. Building a solid financial future isn’t easy—wages are stagnant, markets have been disappointing, and Americans are getting older and living longer. Half of U.S. households are at risk of not having enough to maintain their living standards in retirement, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. Still, focusing only on the difficulty of the challenges can make the problem worse.