Half Of Americans Are Not Saving For Retirement: Report

An alarming number of Americans may have to work until they die.

One in two Americans are not saving at all for retirement, according to a new study issued by LIMRA, a financial services trade association, and noted by CNN Money.

The youngest and the poorest are the least likely to be putting money aside. Fifty-six percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds are not saving at all for retirement, according to the study. In addition, just 23 percent of Americans earning less than $50,000 per year contributed at least $2,500 to their retirement accounts over the past year.

"In order to have the adequate savings necessary to meet their financial needs in retirement -- which could last 20 or more years -- it is critical that these individuals begin saving systematically early in their working years," said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director at LIMRA, according to CNN Money.

Unfortunately, most young Americans do not start saving early. Just one in three Americans begin putting away money for retirement in their 20s, according to Bankrate.

Meanwhile, retiree health care costs have risen 6 percent a year since 2002. Health care bills now run to $240,000 for a 65-year-old couple over a 20-year-period, according to a recent study by Fidelity Investments cited by USA Today.

As they face high living costs and low bank balances, more and more older Americans are finding themselves in tough financial positions. The number of senior citizens who are working has doubled over the past 15 years to a record 7.2 million, according to The New York Times. More than nine million senior citizens cannot pay their bills, and 60 percent of older women cannot afford basic expenses, according to two recent studies from the group Wider Opportunities for Women.

At the same time, many younger Americans simply cannot afford to start saving for retirement. Just one in two recent college graduates have full-time jobs, according to a study by Rutgers released on Thursday. And the average debt burden of twenty-somethings is $45,000, according to a recent study by PNC Bank.

That financial insecurity lasts throughout the lives of many. Forty-three percent of all American households are one crisis away from poverty, according to a recent study -- meaning saving for retirement is all but impossible.