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The problems of not saving for one's own retirement are compounded by the fact that Americans are having their children at a much later stage of life than they used to.

My generation tended to have babies in their early to mid twenties. By the time we were in our mid forties, or at least by age 50, the kids were out of the house. We still had 15 years or so - and the knowledge and maturity - to save up some money before retiring.

Today's kids spend their 20's and even their 30's spending their entire incomes irresponsibly (my standards) on cars, vacations, gadgets, restaurants, etc. Their children arrive when they're in their late 30's and into their 40's, and those late babies are often still dependents when their parents are of an age to retire.

I had my 3 kids early, 2 of them when my husband was still a student, and I learned all about living frugally - we ate at home, drove second hand cars, fixed up old furniture, I sewed our clothes. When it came time to take a vacation, we packed up some camping gear and took the kids to $2/night campgrounds, or exchanged visits with old friends, sleeping on their floors. We never felt deprived.

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