"Retirement" wasn't a word I heard growing up.
My mother worked long hours and had a spending problem. My father said the stock market only benefited the rich. I assumed you dealt with retirement when you were old.
That all changed when I landed a job as a personal finance writer at CNBC, reporting on the financial challenges people face at every age level. On the top of the list, I soon learned, is how unprepared people are when those paychecks stop coming and they need to live on a fixed income.
Americans save half of what they should for retirement, according to the Stanford Center on Longevity. More than 40 percent of single retirees end up with basically just their Social Security to live on. That's frightening when you consider that the average monthly check is just $1,413.