Americans today are living longer than any generation before us. As a result, the need to save and plan for retirement is even more important. When the economy took a dip, many retirement accounts were affected. For those who were already struggling to get by, job losses and low wages make it near impossible to achieve the goal of saving enough for retirement.

One big factor that affects the ability to save for retirement is the lack of employee sponsored retirement plans. About 62 percent of white employees, 54 percent of black and Asian employees and 38 percent of Latino employees work for companies that sponsor retirement programs. Joseph Leitmann-Santa Cruz, once a private wealth manager, now works with a nonprofit Capital Area Asset Builders.

Leitmann-Santa Cruz works with low and moderate income families in D.C. When he does financial seminars, he advises his students to not rely on anyone else for retirement income. He believes the time has come for everyone to learn how to provide for themselves.

Beyond low wages, a mountain of debt can cause an additional barrier to retirement savings. Whether the debt accumulated from credit cards or medical expenses, the result is still the same, crushing financial consequences. A daily circus of debt collectors demanding payment can be very stressful.

When your financial obligations just don’t match up with your income, it may be time to explore bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can eliminate most consumer debt. For those in the midst of a foreclosure, a bankruptcy may help. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help those in debt determine the right legal option.

Source: www.npr.org, “Latinos Live Longer But Struggle To Save Enough For Retirement,” Hansi Lo Wang, March 27, 2014.

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