A friend of mine emailed me today about his first meeting for he and his wife with a financial planner. It didn’t go well. He says, “the plan is, I’ll be a greeter at Wal-Mart and she’ll latch on w/ Hooters. It should pay for our cans of tuna.”

Ok, ok. My buddy is a bit of a character but he, like so many other well employed Americans in their 40s are trying to figure out how the heck they’re going to retire in twenty plus years, and it’s a bit scary.

Most Americans have been dropping the ball when it comes to saving. “Americans’ personal savings rate dipped into negative territory in 2005, something that hasn’t happened since the Great Depression.” That according to an AP story earlier this year and based on Commerce Department numbers.

But most workers I talk to say they are just making enough money to make ends meet, and that translates into not saving enough for anything, let alone retirement. It could be that everyone is overspending, enjoying caviar lunches and weekends in Paris. Maybe the big screen TV wasn’t a good idea, or the kid’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese got a bit out of hand.

What ever is going on, it does not bode well for the masses of people heading for their golden years.

And forget about pensions. The latest big company to put the “whoa doggie” on pensions was DuPont, and more and more are jumping on the we’re-not-your-safety-net bandwagon.

There was, however, good news yesterday on worker paydays from the Department of Labor. Labor costs in the U.S. rose at the fastest rate in almost six years and the labor costs that companies dish out supposedly went into employees paychecks. Economists across the country were proclaiming these latest figures good news for the daily grinders out there.

Did you guys see that? Have your paychecks swelled?

The one thing the Labor Department’s figures were missing was how that money was divvied up. Was it paid out in the form of bonuses? Was it paid out to the top dogs at companies? That, we’re not sure about.

For the most part, economic data on wages has shown that most employees haven’t gotten their fair share of corporate profits in the past decade.

Maybe it’s time to meet with your boss as ask for a few extra shekels.

I suggested that to my friend.

To that, he responded that his company was “in a frozen shekel zone.”

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