Four in 10 working Americans say they will never be able to afford to retire, a Harris Interactive survey of 1,005 adults for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found.

In addition, 55% do not know how much they will need to afford retirement, and among those who think they know, they are low-balling the figures. Asked how much they would need for a 20-year retirement starting at age 65, those earning $50,000 to $75,000 gave a median estimate of $250,000.

Perhaps more startling is the fact that 56% of Americans say they cannot afford to save, and 29% say they are financially worse off than they were a year ago.

“These statistics suggest we are on the verge of a retirement crisis in America,” said Jordan Amin, chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Americans don’t know how to prepare for their twilight years, and many have put off figuring it out because they’re struggling to make ends meet now.”

Amin added: “Here’s the best advice I can give for retirement planning: Start!”

Lee Barney is an editor at Money Management Executive, a SourceMedia publication.

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