Yahoo Finance posed an interesting question this week. “Is Our Low Home Ownership Rate a Risk to Americans’ Retirement?

Here’s what I think about the topic…

People save and build up their net worth in different ways. Some live modestly and invest heavily in 401(k) and other retirement savings plans; others invest in their primary residence and have less money in retirement savings.

It’s our view that, with proper and creative planning, investors with about the same net worth and similar expense budgets should enjoy approximately the same amount of retirement income, regardless of whether they put their savings into a 401(k) or their home.

It just takes looking outside the traditional investment vehicles to those products that will unlock income from retirement savings and equity in a primary residence.

And in a top story from Employee Benefit Advisor, we are sadly reminded that “Secure Retirement Still Elusive for Many Employees.”

Planning for retirement is like planning for golf season.

When asked about the prospects for the upcoming season, your plans for improving your game with lessons, practice, etc., all sounds great, but how you were playing at the end of last season is probably more relevant.

So when articles only talk about the failure of investors to understand “how much they need to save,” I only ask a much simpler question.

“How much income will their current savings produce in retirement?”

That number is easily knowable and has to be the starting point for any future planning.