Savings shortfall, still confident, & more

  By Seth Jentner
Seth Jentner

The average American household faces a pretty stiff retirement fund deficit – $90,000 to be precise, says the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. It used Federal Reserve statistics to look at the retirement savings of 70 million households with workers between the ages of 32 and 64. It says its estimated household shortfall is conservative, because it doesn’t project any future cuts in Social Security benefits. “It’s a measure of how far behind Americans are in their retirement savings today,” a spokesman said.

Investors hang in
Two years of rollercoaster financial markets have done little to shake investor confidence, says the Center for Audit Quality in Washington, DC. Its survey showed that investor confidence stands at 68%, just a little below the 70% level during the 2008 crash. However, confidence in government plans to fix the economy dropped from 31% to 22% over the last year.

The young like Roths
Younger savers are converting to tax-free Roth IRAs at a faster pace than any other group, says Fidelity Investments. It may be that the many years of tax-free growth ahead of them makes up for the requirement to pay taxes today on any IRAs converted to Roths.

Social Security online
When should you take Social Security – early, at normal retirement age, or later? In order to help you make this difficult decision, the Social Security Administration offers an online estimator to help compare different retirement options. The calculator will use your own earnings record; you don’t have to manually enter information. www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator

Where the rich are
Looking for a millionaire match-up for your single child? While North America still has the highest number of millionaires at 4.7 million, the Far East is becoming a good bet, says Boston Consulting Group. China has the third highest number (Japan is second) and Hong Kong and Singapore have the highest number per capita.