A comfortable retirement may take saving 15 percent a year

Is 15 percent becoming the new 10 percent for



Maybe so - but that doesn't mean many South Floridians will be able to save that much.

"I think everyone wants to save 15 percent a year. It's just a question of how we can do it," said Donna Moss, a Plantation working mother of two preschoolers.

Moss' budget doesn't allow her family to save more than 8 percent, including her employer's match, she said. Child care expenses takes a big chunk of her and her husband's paycheck, she said.

Consistently saving 15 percent a year in


accounts - including the employer's match - gives South Florida workers a better chance at a comfortable


, according to recent studies by T.


Price, a financial services company with a

Boca Raton


"With people living longer and retiring without guaranteed pension income,


planning is more crucial today than even a decade ago," the company's research found.

"Their research supports our view that 15 percent is the new 10 percent," Boca Raton financial planner Mari Adam wrote in her latest newsletter. "Several years ago, the consensus was to save at least 10 percent of income. Now that figure has been upped to 15 percent."

But many said they can't set aside that much.

"When I was younger I could do it," said O.J. Smith, the lead vocalist for

Fort Lauderdale

band The Resolvers. But times are lean, he said, and "I'm not saving that much now."

Other South Floridians said they were struggling with personal issues, such as divorce or paying for an "underwater" house that isn't worth as much as its mortgage.

South Floridians can try to reach the 15 percent savings goal by automatically saving a portion of any raises they get, suggested T.


Price spokesman Robert Benjamin.

But Stanley Cook of Davie said his raises are needed to help offset rising prices. "Just look at the cost of gas," he said.

Saving more is especially important for South Florida workers since many won't be earning a pension to help them in


, said Bernadette West, an economist who teaches at Strayer University's



Coral Springs


The Sunshine State has the lowest rate in the nation of workers age 21 to 64 who are saving for


at their jobs or qualifying for a pension, according to the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. Just 43.7 percent of the Sunshine State's full-time, full-year workers participated in an employer-based


plan, the institute reported.

West has been saving 15 percent for her


- which she said she has been doing for the past five years.

Still, any amount people can save for


will help improve the chances of retiring comfortably, said

Deerfield Beach

financial planner Blair Shein.

Shein also recommended that South Floridians look first at their debt; it would be better to first pay off high-interest credit cards and then save. They should set a budget - and stick to either paying off debt or saving, he said.

"Budget is the terrible word people don't like to hear," Shein said.

But the budget helps people stick to their goals - even when retiring is decades away.

For those who aren't part of a 401(k)


plan at work, there are alternatives, such as Roth and traditional IRAs, said Adam, the financial planner.

"Your investment grows tax-free until withdrawal," in either plan, Adam wrote in her latest newsletter. "IRAs provide savings discipline; once the money is in the account, you're less likely to take it out.", 954-356-4404, or Twitter @954-356-4404