How can such a simple thing be so misunderstood?

A recent research study reported that 40 Million Americans have NO retirement savings. Another report revealed that the average retiree only has about $415,000 in savings?

Given that life expectancy is increasing to about 90 these days, if you retire at 65 then that $415,000 will only provide a little more than $16,000 a year to cover the increasing cost of living above your social security income.

Should be a wakeup call to anyone, especially since technology and AI is automating jobs out of existence and will continue to do so further decreasing your financial security before you reach your retirement age.

See also: How’s your career going, or is it over?

Now more than ever before it is imperative that more people think about what they are doing about planning for their financial future in the new world of work. You really should start as soon as possible or else you will wind up like the majority of the work force today – unfulfilled in your career and financially insecure in your life.

Planning is anticipating the inevitable and can even be done on paper. It’s determining: Where am I now? Where do I want to be and by when? and – How am I going to get there quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year?

It should be done at a minimum of five year intervals. Let’s start with when you enter the workforce at a specific salary and then set a salary goal for where you want to be in five years. At the end of each year you should compare where you are salary-wise as compared to where you needed to be that year to achieve your five year salary goal.

Read more: The Life Cycle

If you haven’t achieved that goal then most likely you will not achieve your five year goal, and you need to rethink your career salary expectations. Unfortunately, most people don’t even do this simple exercise and become further and further behind the cost of living curve until it is too late for them to do anything about it.

Anticipating the inevitable isn’t that difficult. If the cost of living has been going up and will continue to rise at probably a higher level each year, then your salary has to increase at least the same level for you to maintain your standard of living. Given the accelerating trend towards the new world of work where what was career-wise will no longer be, you need to accelerate your career planning; and even more so if you haven’t been planning for your financial security at all!

So the question is – What’s the Plan ?

Robert M. Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. His consultancy business is called His corporate life was spent in executive positions with IBM, Pfizer and EXXON and then as the CEO for several U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinational firms. Professor Donnelly is on the faculty of Saint Peters University as well as Rushmore University, a global online university. His latest book is Personal Brand Planning for Life, available on Amazon. He also functions as an interim executive. You can contact him at or visit his website at