DaveAccording to a recent Newsmax article, a record number of Americans now say they doubt they'll be able to afford a comfortable retirement.  And for those depending on Social Security to assist in retirement survival, current reports indicate, social security will run at a deficit this year and keep on running in the red until its trust funds are drained by about 2037.

Doubts arise largely from the fear that inflation will slowly eat away the value of current retirement accounts.  Inflation is now an all but foregone conclusion.  The National Inflation Association has published 12 Warning Signs of U.S. Hyperinflation.  Frankly, signs are everywhere and they are just plain scary. 

Some statistics suggest inflation is increasing at a 92% clip, every 3 months.  Yikes!  Just to put things in perspective, 2% inflation rate today could reach double digits in just 7 or 8 months.  Translated into terms near and dear to us all, inflation of just 10% means your savings and retirement will have to grow at about 15% a year just to stay even.  Why 15%?  Don't forget State and Federal income taxes. 

Even the experts don't predict those kind of returns from stocks as inflation directly affects disposable income and investable income.  The more we must spend on food and energy the less we have to spend, save and invest. 

Every day it becomes more critical to invest in things that increase in value at a pace greater than the inflation rate.  Right now rising oil prices are a major culprit in the theft of savings and retirement account value.  If only you could store a thousand barrels of oil.  Housing may also present some opportunity as today's home prices are so low one has to believe there is only one way for those prices to go and that is up.  

Housing, however, may be decades away from recovery as some expect another massive wave of foreclosures in 2011.  Plus, how many homes can you put away for retirement.  There are limits to liquidity in owning multiple homes for investment.  Even today, according to a CNNMoney report, 13% of all homes in U.S. are vacant.  That's more than 1 of every 8 homes.  It's definitely a buyers market but there just aren't enough buyers to fill up all the homes we have.  And, that number may still be growing.

So, what's the alternative?  Through all of this, gold has been a consistent winner.  Rising over 400% over the last decade, gold seems to be one of a very elite group of investments that can outpace inflation.  Even today's biggest brokerages and investment banks are driving gold demand by recommending at least a portion of your savings and retirement be put into gold.  

Can you retire without a few gold coins in your savings and retirement accounts?