Heather Havrilevsky is 38 and she is NOT saving enough. Basically, no one is, if you believe the numerous online calculators she consulted. Her family should be putting away $100K a year!
(Some folks, like economist Lawrence Kotlikoff, think those retirement calculators tend to exaggerate, because they are sponsored by banks and brokerages that want more of your savings and investment fees. He believes you can do something called consumption smoothing, which essentially means: save less now, spend less, and steadily, all through retirement, die broke.)
However, this essay in Salon is a great read and speaks to many, many people's anxieties.
I was especially interested when she talks about how debt gets gifted from generation to generation, and the diminished value of hard work when debt takes up your earnings.
"And of course I agree that kids should learn the value of hard work. But should they do it while they're in college and ostensibly working hard already to get a good education? And after they graduate, when they're saddled with huge debts and have to spend most of their income just to pay them down, how will they feel about work then? Won't it seem sort of pointless to work so hard when they're still in debt, year after year, despite their best efforts to get rid of it? And how will they afford anything, when they're in enormous debt? By making their debts even bigger with credit cards, that's how. It's true that hard work can be very satisfying. But let's face it, if there were a "hard work calculator" out there somewhere, replete with supporting charts and graphs, it would demonstrate that the value of hard work is diminishing as the costs of food and insurance and college and retirement rise exponentially. "