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Getting older is expensive, yet millions have no retirement savings. How much do you need?

More than 50 million American workers have no access to a retirement savings plan, according to AARP. That includes plenty of Arizonans. So why aren't people saving early and how much do you need to retire well?

"That is a question for which the proper answer is a very firm and unwavering: It depends," said David John, a senior policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute and deputy director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution.

And it depends because there’s a lot to consider.  

"The typical rule of thumb is that you want the combination of your Social Security benefits and your other resources to equal somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of your pre-retirement income," he said. 

So, if your income is $60,000 a year, you might want your yearly retirement income to come in around $45,000. Factor in life expectancy — say you retire at 65 and live another 30 years — you could need roughly a $1 million or more. John says as we age, the amount we spend tends to gradually decline. 

So why don’t people start saving early?

"We don't necessarily think that retirement applies to us or that retirement is something important, until roughly the age of 40-44 or 45, somewhere in that range," John said. 

John also says that a lot of people don't know how much to save, where to invest their money and when to start saving, so they put it off completely. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that would create a  work and save retirement study group. The group will decide whether businesses should offer employees a way to save from their regular paychecks by putting money into a fund like an IRA or something similar.

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.