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Special Report

Morningstar's Retirement Readiness Week

Sept. 10-14: Research and insights on savings strategies, income replacement rates, portfolio allocations, and more for investors nearing retirement.

For a notion once synonymous with the "golden years," the idea of retirement today conjures up at least as much anxiety as pleasant anticipation for many of the baby boomers fast approaching it. The financial crisis took a hefty toll on both their 401(k)s and their confidence, with a host of articles warning about the unpreparedness of the next generation of retirees.

And it's not just a perception issue. Elevated unemployment and a housing market still well off its highs combine with inflationary health-care costs and stubbornly low yields to paint a difficult picture for retirement, just about any way you slice it.