We're all feeling the pinch financially, whether you've lost your job or are simply trying to catch up with loss of value in your home or retirement fund. Most of us are licking our financial wounds on some level, and that makes saving for retirement something that's fourth, seventh, even tenth on our list of priorities. A recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that those of age 36 to 62 are short a total of $4.55 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") to pay for retirement - an average of about $48,000 per person. That's bad news, and it's even worse for those generations that save the least. So which generations are the best savers, bottom line? Here is a quick breakdown. (To learn more, see Playing Retirement Catch-Up.)

IN PICTURES: 5 Tax(ing) Retirement Mistakes

Early Boomers
Those first post-war babies are now inches away from retirement, with an age range of 56 to 62. You would think that with retirement so close, this generation of early boomers would have their financial ducks in a row - not so. Early boomers are short close to $30,000 each if they're married, slightly more for single males, and more than twice that for single females. This is particularly bad news for this generation, since there's little time to play catch-up. (For more, see Boomers: Twisting The Retirement Mindset.)

Late Boomers
Those boomers aged 46 to 55 still have a way to go until retirement, but they're projected to be short on savings by roughly the same amounts of money the early boomers are. So what's the cause? Many boomers lost significant portions of retirement savings in the stock market crashes, and they have not been able to recover their losses. Single females of the boomer generation are at the highest risk of running out of money, at nearly twice their male counterpart's. Another factor in the projected shortcomings is the loss of property value: for many retirees counted on a mortgage-free lifestyle that is no longer such a sure thing. This generation is also hit hard by layoffs and has a difficult time getting rehired, amplifying retirement shortcomings.

Generation X
By now, you've probably figured out that none of us have saved enough - so Generation X must be even worse off, right? On the surface the numbers do look worse: the average Generation Xer will be short $32,098 come retirement, which is slightly higher than the early boomer generation at $29,467. Does this mean that Generation X saves less? Not necessarily: this projected shortage simply reflects that costs like healthcare and medication will be higher for those that are age 36-45 now. To compensate, Generation X simply has to save more than the boomer generation. (To learn more, see The Generation Gap.)

IN PICTURES: Top 6 Marriage-Killing Money Issues

Generation Y and Beyond
It's too soon to tell how Generation Y - those 35 and younger - will fare, and variables like healthcare cost, healthcare-related government legislation and value of assets like real estate make these numbers difficult to predict. In any case, there's no clear winner in the savings race - in fact, we're all losing. None of us are saving enough, particularly considering the rising cost of medical expenses, and the unsure state of investment returns.

The Bottom Line
So what should you do? Save - particularly if you are a single female, a demographic that is the hardest hit by retirement shortcomings. Consider working longer: working until you're 67 will give your retirement a significant boost, because you'll have fewer years of expenses, longer to contribute to an IRA or other retirement account, and increased Social Security monies. If you're fortunate enough to have a matching 401(K) through your employer, take advantage of this.

Consult with a financial advisor to make an honest assessment of your financial needs in retirement, and make a savings plan to suit. Your golden years should be a joy, not a financial nightmare. Being more realistic about saving today, despite current financial pressures, is the way to ensure you can enjoy your retirement - no matter if you're an early or late boomer, Generation X or Y. (For more, check out 7 Boomer Jobs That Are Up For Grabs.)

For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Lions And Diapers And Dows, Oh My!

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    What Your Credit Score Means for Your Love Life

    Wondering if your significant other wants to commit and is reliable? The Fed might have the answer.
  2. Your Clients

    Tips for Making Your Nest Egg Last Longer

    If you’re trying to figure out how to make your hard-earned nest egg last, there’s one piece of advice that stands above the rest.
  3. Your Practice

    What the Next Decade Holds for Financial Advisors

    A look at the top trends of the financial advisory business in the next decade.
  4. Investing

    3 Healthy Financial Habits for 2016

    ”Winning” investors don't just set it and forget it. They consistently take steps to adapt their investment plan in the face of changing markets.
  5. Retirement

    Early Out: A Realistic Plan to Retire Younger

    If you want to retire ahead of schedule, it'll take some extra planning.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Which Fund Share Class is Best for Retirement?

    Mutual funds are a popular investment for retirement. Here's how to choose the best share class when investing in them.
  7. Retirement

    6 Robo-Advisors That Require Little to Start

    There are many well-regarded robo-advisor options that come with minimum investment amounts. Here are snapshots of a handful of them.
  8. Investing News

    Bill Gross: It's a Xanax Existence for the 99%

    Read about the investment letter from famed bond king Bill Gross for 2016. See how he says the 99% are living a Xanax existence while the 1% prosper.
  9. Your Clients

    How to Construct an Annual Review for Clients

    One of the best things that advisors can provide to clients is an annual review of their financial situation. Here are some guidelines.
  10. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Am I losing the right to collect spousal Social Security benefits before I collect ...

    The short answer is yes, if you haven't reached age 62 by December 31, 2015. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 disrupted ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where else can I save for retirement after I max out my Roth IRA?

    With uncertainty about the sustainability of Social Security benefits for future retirees, a lot of responsibility for saving ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. When can catch-up contributions start?

    Most qualified retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and SIMPLE 401(k) plans, as well as individual retirement accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are 401(k) contributions tax deductible?

    All contributions to qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s reduce taxable income, which lowers the total taxes owed. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are 401(k) rollovers taxable?

    401(k) rollovers are generally not taxable as long as the money goes into another qualifying plan, an individual retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are catch-up contributions included in the 415 limit?

    Unlike regular employee deferrals, catch-up contributions are not included in the 415 limit. While there is an annual limit ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center