(MoneyWatch) When it comes to planning a successful retirement, don't waste time comparing the "haves" with the "havenots." It's a better use of your time to compare the "dids" with the "didnots." And here's what you're likely to find: Those who did plan for retirement are more likely to be the "haves," and those who did not plan for retirement are more likely to be the "havenots."
Let's just look at one of the many surveys that demonstrate this conclusion. According to the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), only 42 percent of all workers report that they've tried to calculate how much money they'll need in retirement. Another 42 percent reported that they guessed at the number, but often, they guess way too low. The people who report that they've calculated the amount of money they need have more realistic savings goals, report higher savings levels, and are more confident about their retirement.
But enough about numbers. Pictures often work better than words when inspiring people to do what they need to do. So here goes.
What inspired me to show these somewhat goofy photos? Behavioral finance research that shows savings decisions are often made for emotional reasons, not logical ones, and that images can speak to your emotional side better than facts and figures.
So if you're inspired to take the time to do the job right, check out my free online retirement planning guide Money for Life. It organizes posts I've written as well as some from other CBS MoneyWatch bloggers on a variety of topics, including Social Security, Medicare, investing, and strategies you can use to generate retirement income. It also contains a 12-week planning guide that leads you through the necessary steps to planning for your retirement.
With a subject as serious as this, it's worth repeating the old adage: Nobody plans to fail, but many people fail to plan. Don't let this happen to you.