The death of pensions could mean trouble for workers nearing retirement age. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, more than half of American workers between the ages of 45 and 54 have saved less than $50,000 for retirement - a little more than a year's worth of the $42,000 average household income. Here are five tips to help Americans kick their retirement planning into overdrive:

  1. Save, Save and then Save Some More! - You'll never save enough for retirement if you don't start saving now. Put every penny you can into your company's defined contribution plan, (commonly referred to as a 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan, etc.) especially if your contributions are being matched by your employer.
  2. A Retirement Account is NOT an ATM - Don't even think about touching the money you put toward your retirement.
  3. Social Security - If you were counting on Social Security benefits to help supplement your retirement savings, think again. Most experts agree that the social security benefit program that our parents and grandparents knew will not be the one we experience.
  4. Diversity Matters - A diverse portfolio can be your ticket to stability.
  5. Retirement Planning is a Rolling Stone - If you switch employers, consider rolling your retirement plan into a self-directed IRA account -- not your next employer's 401(k) account. A self-directed IRA opens additional investment options not available in a 401(k)