A new report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College looks into how much individuals must save for a secure retirement, based on earnings, the age they started saving, the age they plan to retire and asset returns.

According to the RETIRE Project at Georgia State University, households earning $50,000 and over need about 80 percent of pre-retirement earnings to maintain the same level of consumption. "Households earning less need a higher percentage because they generally save very little for retirement and pay much less tax while working," the report says.

An average earner who starts saving at 35 and retires at 67 must save 18 percent each year, assuming a 4 percent return on investments, to achieve that percentage of retirement income. The comparable rate for low and high earners was 12 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

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