A few weeks ago, there was a Senate Special Committee on Aging that was taking testimony from number of sources. What the panel found was that people were living longer, that more folks were going into retirement than ever before, and that consumption by such retirees was going up appreciably. However, it also found that people were simply saving much less.

Senator Larry Craig, the panel's chairman, said that the personal saving rate declined by two-thirds in the decade that ended in 2002. What that translates to is a gap between what people need and what they actually have. According to testimony, the gap is a big one: $28 billion to $36 billion a year. This applies to those 65 and older today. It also translates to a gap of $45 billion a year by 2030.

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