I highly recommend reading this blog post by Roger Nusbaum if you have given or are giving thoughts to your retirement plan. Before the baby boomers neared retirement the US was in a fairly high growth state. Rising home and equity values, combined with nice returns on cash/bond investments, made it easy to accumulate retirement funds while still spending fairly heavily. Things have changed for the worse and won’t get better for many years (think a decade or more). Growth is slow in all developed countries with interest rates far below the level needed to deliver a real return above inflation. House values are likely to recover in the next few years but the steady long term growth will not return. Some Asian economies are in a position to grow faster than developed ones but are far too small to sustain the global economy in the face of European and North American long term weakness. It all sounds quite negative but if you plan accordingly you can still earn nice returns and retire at a reasonable age. Act and succeed.