What does the fiscal cliff mean for my retirement?

For those who are preparing to enter retirement in the next year or two, or have been laying the groundwork for a future retirement within the decade, the ongoing negotiations over the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling and the trajectory of the U.S. economy are worth being concerned about. The decisions being made in Washington D.C. at this time will most likely have a profound impact on the way that Americans, especially those in the Baby Boomer generation, finance themselves, their families and their lives.

A recent article from Forbes Magazine covered the topic, exploring several studies that looked at the income capabilities of current and soon-to-be retirees. The results, to put it simple, portray a United States that has a big retirement problem looming in the horizon, primarily due to the fact that older folks simply don't make enough to put away anymore.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a nonprofit think that delves into labor and economic issues, has looked into the issue. According to a recent study published by the group, a staggering 44 percent of Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers are not making enough money to survive in a post-retirement lifestyle. This takes into consideration both the fact that those individuals would work until the age of 65, and would require funding for food, lodging, basic healthcare and Medicare premiums.

This information comes on the heels of recent pronouncements by Democratic and Republican politicians that call for changes to the nation's entitlement programs, which could result in benefit adjustments – higher premiums, lower returns – for Social Security and Medicare recipients. Although the fiscal cliff deal might not necessarily result in these changes in the short-term, it is likely that these alterations will be on the agenda for the new Congressional session that begins in January.

Americans on the cusp of retirement need to take additional steps to take care of themselves in the future. It's recommended that they look into retirement income strategies that offer them a level of protection when the future economic status of the country remains very uncertain.