The new year is when people resolve to lose weight, eat healthier and get organized, and experts say they also need to make a commitment to save for retirement -- whatever their age.
"It's never too late to start," said Jennifer Putney, vice president of marketing for Prudential Retirement Marketing.
Americans are living longer but saving less. When the original Social Security Act was signed in 1935, the life expectancy was 60. Today it is 82, so a person who starts collecting Social Security at age 66 can expect to be retired about 16 years.
Yet half of Baby Boomers -- who are retiring at a rate of about 10,000 every day -- have no private pension and 34 percent have no savings set aside specifically for retirement, according to the Social Security Administration.
The younger generation isn't doing any better. More than 40 percent of millennials are not saving for retirement, according to Prudential, yet still expect to retire at age 67.
For all age groups, there is a wide gap between expectation and reality, but Putney said people are realizing, "I really do need to be saving more."
All generations should save
Prudential recently introduced a campaign to encourage people to save 1 percent more of their income for retirement.
"Every penny counts," Putney said. To maintain their standard of living, most people need to be saving 10 to 15 percent of their income "consistently," and not take early withdrawals to pay for emergencies or other expenses.
It's not easy to set aside anywhere near that amount. People in their 20s are repaying college loans, getting married and having kids. Then it's raising a family, saving for kids' college and caring for aging parents. By their 60s, Putney said, many really need to consider delaying their retirement date, even a year or two, to bump up their savings and pay down their debt.
Online calculators, available free through Social Security and financial websites, show a person or couple how close they are to being able to fund a retirement.
She said it's important for people of all ages to know the balance in their retirement account and contribution rate. "A lot of people don't know," she said.
The 4 percent rule generally is considered the amount of a retiree's savings he or she should be able to spend each year without running out of money. If they've saved $1 million, that's only $40,000 a year.
The average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers in Mississippi is $920, and $105 in Medicare premiums is deducted from that, leaving $815 a month.
"If you retire and you're depending only on Social Security, you're going to have to watch your pennies," said Emile Koury, wealth adviser for Hancock Bank.
How to start saving
"There's always a reason not to save," Koury said. "And you can always find a good one."
Most people get to retirement and have Social Security and a little savings, he said. He considers the best way for employees of all ages to start building their retirement fund is through a 401(k) at work.
"Most companies match your deferral, so it's free money," he said.
For those who start saving $5,000 a year for their retirement in their 20s, "compound interest helps a young person accumulate wealth," he said.
But age 50 isn't too late.
The maximum 401(k) contribution for 2015 is $18,000, but few people contribute that amount. Employees 50 and older are allowed a catch-up contribution of an extra $6,000 this year, meaning they can set aside $24,000 plus the employer match where available.
People are concerned about how much they will need to retire and not outlive their money, Koury said.
He suggests people go their bank or talk to a financial planner who can help them with their retirement and life planning.
"We customize plans to fit their objectives," he said. "You've got to start."