In your 20s, it's wise to start putting 10 percent to 12 percent of your income per year toward investing in your retirement if you hope to retire around age 65 while maintaining your current lifestyle. If you wait until your 40s, you'll have to save more than double that amount — closer to 25 percent — of your annual income to have the same spending power in retirement.
4. Don't wait for a bailout; hold yourself accountable. The American dream is attainable. The "goal" just needs to be adjusted to meet your own definition of what it means to retire comfortably. So set your goals, consult an advisor if you need help, make a plan, and start living it.
Sadly, the result of most Americans having no private retirement savings is that these folks will face a lower standard of living in their golden years.
— By Bill Harris, CEO of Personal Capital