NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There's little doubt Americans are struggling to save for retirement. About 49% of U.S. adults express serious reservations about saving enough for their post-career years, according to a study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute. What's more, 46% of Americans are so disenchanted about their lack of long-term savings that they haven't bothered to calculate how much they'll need to live on in retirement. That's like taking your car on a long vacation and not bothering to check the fuel gauge before you pull out -- and you don't know how much money you have in your pocket for gas along the way. John Bucsek, CFP and managing director at MetLife ( MET) Solutions Group, has an interesting take on the retirement anxiety dilemma -- particularly on how the financial journey toward your golden years changes, and how your retirement savings strategy should change, too. Social Security, which would be $21,600 -- leaving $58,400 to come from other sources. For those with lifetime "high" annual earnings, Social Security will replace a lower percentage as compared with someone who had a lifetime of "medium" earnings, in which case they will get a higher percentage. 3: What is the degree of risk in your portfolio? Bucsek: Market fluctuations, interest rate changes and inflation can have a significant impact on retirement, especially if there are substantial losses before and at retirement. It might be a good idea to use a moderate return rate for your long-term projections, which involves a lower degree of risk and helps prevent your retirement funds taking a big hit while you're in or close to retirement. Work with your financial adviser and recalculate every year to be sure you are on track. 4: What age did you begin saving? Bucsek: There is no better time to save for retirement than today. The longer your money has to work and grow for you, the easier it is to reach the desired level of retirement income. If you started to save early in life, you may need to save less out of each paycheck because compounding should enhance your overall savings. If, on the other hand, you started later in life, you may need to take out more from each paycheck to reach your desired retirement income.