Delaying retirement is now more of a reality than a question for many Americans.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average retirement age is now 63, up from 61.5 in 2000.
Health-care costshave been rising—as are state and local taxes—while income and investment gains have been modest at best.
Home prices have been slumping for half a decade now, and despite the heady gains of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the average house is no longer the fat retirement piggy bank it once seemed.
Tens of millions of homeowners are unable to sell their homes or refinance their mortgages because their loan balances are higher than their home's value, or they have lost their property to foreclosure.
Prices are also an issue. Through the first seven months of 2010, the median price of an existing home was just under $169,000, compared with $148,000 in 2001. That's a gain of some $2,000 a year, which on a percentage basis is less than the annual rate of inflation.
As for stocks, well they've been a roller coaster: If you invested in basic index funds, your portfolio is flat.
Though the average 401(k) balance has risen to $72,500 in March 2011, from $48,300 in March 2001, that's not exactly a windfall, either.
How much of this sounds like you? Tell us where you stand.