Retirement planning is one of those "important" but not "urgent" endeavors that all must face at some point. Like many tasks, the earlier you start, the easier it is to achieve. There are three main sources of available income during retirement years:
Unfortunately, many workers who did not plan correctly for their retirement have only option 1 available to them when they decide to retire or can no longer work. The average social secirity check in 2011 was approximately $1,200 per month, or $14,400 per year. Only the largest companies are still providing pensions and the percentage of American workers covered by pensions continues to fall.
This leaves personal savings as the primary vehicle for retirement planning for the typical American. Accumulating enough savings requires planning, belt-tightening and discipline. Success is more likely if the following three rules are followed:
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"Own Everything" via a well-diversified investment portfolio consisting of low-cost, index based funds with low trading costs, and rebalance as warranted.