The investment world is facing its biggest crisis ever, one that will harm millions of Americans if it's not addressed head on, and soon.

Such was the warning of Charles Ellis, about the retirement crisis to come, at this week's Morningstar ETF conference in Chicago.

Many haven't saved enough in their 401(k) plans nor will they receive enough in Social Security to live on during their lifetimes, which are growing longer because of improvements in health care. "The demography is undeniable," said Ellis.

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Bernice Napach

Bernice Napach is a senior writer at ThinkAdvisor covering financial markets and asset managers, robo-advisors, college planning and retirement issues. She has worked at Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Reuters, Investor's Business Daily and The Bond Buyer and has written articles for The New York Times, TheStreet.com, The Star-Ledger, The Record, Variety and Worth magazine. Bernice has a Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare from SUNY at Stony Brook.