A recent New York Times piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/13/your-money/paying-off-the-mortgage-is-becoming-harder-for-older-workers.html?emc=edit_th_20150614&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66869921&_r=0), points out just one of the “cracks in the foundation” of American retirement. Large amounts of anticipated retirement resources are to be derived by retiring US citizens from the equity in their homes. In Europe and Canada, for example where tax subsidies for home ownership have been less popular there is greater reliance on public and/or private pensions. How aging Americans will support themselves in retirement is the subject of wide speculation, fear mongering and blithe indifference.
The speculation suggests strain on the Social Security system, the Medicaid system and the liquidation of private retirement funds and, yes, sale of the primary residence. (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-baby-boomers-retirement-means-for-the-u-s-economy/).
The fear mongering is mostly from organizations and individuals attempting to sell various financial packages and products. Attempts by American legislators such as Elizabeth Warren to introduce a fiduciary requirement have been squashed by financial services industry lobby, so we can expect this to continue.
The blithe indifference belongs to the aging American population, who have shown a remarkable ability to ignore the obvious.
Does this look like a silver streaked train wreck about to happen?