A new study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research states that Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to fund their retirement, due in part to declines in stock and housing values.

The study, based on American workers ages 32-64, used conservative assumptions including: a 3% rate of return on assets, no further cuts in pension coverage or Social Security benefits, and no increase in the age of retirement. While 3% may be appropriate for this study, most people are still thinking in terms of 5%, 6% or even 8% returns, and these may not be attainable as long-term returns with conservative investments.

What does this mean? No, it’s not time to panic, but it does means these workers need to become more self reliant in their retirement planning. This includes the use of insurance-based products such as annuities to provide underlying guarantees for lifetime income, and life insurance for capital and income replacement in the event of an early death.

Start planning today. Your retirement future and security is up to you.

by Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of the LIFE Foundation