NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Study after study bears out the sentiment that Americans are having a hard time saving for retirement.
The Washington, D.C-based National Institute On Retirement Security says the typical American family has only a "few thousand dollars saved for retirement" and notes that 45% of U.S. working-age households, or 38 million of them, don't have any retirement assets at all.
"Our findings confirm that the American Dream of retiring comfortably after a lifetime of work will be impossible for many," says Nari Rhee, NIRS' manager of research. "Based on 401(k)-type account and IRA balances alone, some 92% of working households do not meet conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income. Even when counting their entire net worth, 65% still fall short."
That is starting to take its toll on America's long-standing image as a standard-of-living powerhouse.
A report from Boston's Natixis Global Asset Management scored the country 19th among 150 developed countries, due partly to weaker "economic stability" and "persistent income inequality."
It's not just the U.S. Tough economic conditions across the globe are making it more difficult for people to retire, and increasingly they seem ill-equipped to even make a decent stab at improving their long-term financial picture.
"The responsibility for financial security in retirement is falling even more heavily on individuals than ever before, and this trend is likely to continue as government resources become more scarce," says John T. Hailer, chief executive of Natixis. "It is becoming increasingly apparent that to ensure financial security in retirement, individuals need to set personal goals and view planning and saving for retirement as a serious, conscious and strategic pursuit."