• In this question, the OP suspects that she simply needs to select the right annuity to solve her money problems.
  • And in her defense, many financial institution commercials try to convince soon-to-be retirees that financial stability in retirement is largely a matter of asset allocation and being "smart with your money".
  • However, savvy investors know that saving early and the miracle of compound interest, is often much more important than asset allocation.

My Question:

  • Has anyone created a documentary about folks who fail to save enough for retirement?
    • It seems like we need a cautionary tale to spare the next generation from making difficult choices during their final years on the planet.
  • 1
    Are you looking for a "scared straight" type of documentary? It seems to me most financial type shows are either trying to sell a book or course, or promoting some particular investment approach. By the way, I agree that early on, it's saving and compounding that are the important factors, but later on, preservation and risk reduction comes from proper allocation. Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


To answer your question, Retirement Revolution may fit the bill to some extent.

I'd also like to address some of the indirect assumptions that were made in your bullet points. I'm convinced that the best way to overcome this is not simply to hold down a good job with COLAs every year, max out your IRA accounts and 401(k)s, invest another 10-20% on top, and live off of the savings and whatever Social Security decides to pay you.

Instead, the trick is to not retire -- to make a transition into an income-producing activity that can be done in the typical retirement years, hopefully one that is closer to one's calling (i.e., more fulfilling). This takes time, not money. If people just shut off the TV and spent the time building up a side business that has a high passive component, they'd stand a much better chance of not outliving their money.


Since your question was first posted, I happened to watch PBS FRONTLINE's The Retirement Gamble, about "America's Retirement Crisis" and the retirement industry. You can watch the entire episode online at the previous link, and it's also available on DVD. Here's a link to the episode transcript.

Here's a partial blurb from a post at PBS that announced the episode:

If you’ve been watching any commercial television lately, you are well aware that the financial services industry is very busy running expensive ads imploring us to worry about our retirement futures. Open a new account today, they say.

They are not wrong that we should be doing something: America is facing a retirement crisis. One in three Americans has no retirement savings at all. One in two reports that they can’t save enough. On top of that, we are living longer, and health care costs, as we all know, are increasing.

But, as I found when investigating the retirement planning and mutual funds industries in The Retirement Gamble, which airs tonight on FRONTLINE, those advertisements are imploring us to start saving for one simple reason. Retirement is big business — and very profitable.

(... more... )

There's another related PBS FRONTLINE documentary from back in 2006, Can You Afford To Retire? You'll find a link on that page to watch the program online.

Finally, I'm also aware of but haven't yet seen a new documentary called Broken Eggs: The Looming Retirement Crisis in America. Looks like it isn't available for online streaming or on DVD yet, but I expect it would be, eventually.

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