Most Americans are falling short of the amount of savings required for a comfortable retirement. About 56 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and one in three Americans has failed to start saving.

The reality is that since the decline in employer provided pensions and retirement plans, the average American has not stepped up and taken responsibility for his retirement planning.

Younger baby boomers (from age 53 through 62) have found themselves facing obstacles that previous generations haven’t experienced.

Many in this generation are helping their children pay for college, supporting themselves, and also have taken on the additional responsibility of caring for their aging parents.

This has resulted in a strain on financial resources and little to no focus on retirement savings.

What about Social Security? If a person retires at the minimum age of 62, she will receive only 75 percent of the monthly benefit, and at age 65 she will get 93.3 percent.

Based on birth year, Boomers will need to work until their full benefit retirement age, which is probably 66.5 or older. Once drawn at the lower benefit, there is no going back. That amount drawn becomes the new maximum benefit.

It benefits one greatly to continue working until he reaches his full retirement age.

Thanks to delayed retirement credits, working until age 70 can result in a much bigger Social Security check.

Roughly estimated, it comes out to about an 8 percent increase every year drawing is delayed, up to age 70.

Those born in 1957, for example, could earn an extra 28 percent of monthly benefit by continuing to work until age 70.

Continuing to work during retirement can be a slippery slope. If under full retirement age, Social Security will deduct $1 from benefit payments for every $2 earned above the annual limit. In 2018, that limit is $17,040.

In the year one reaches full retirement age, Social Security will deduct $1 for every $3 earned above the limit. In 2018, that limit is $45,360.

Beginning the month one reaches full retirement age, Social Security will no longer reduce benefits, no matter how much earned from working.

Planning ahead is key, as is using all of your available assets.

Home equity must be added to the equation, as it is the majority of a retirees net worth.

An article by the Wall Street Journal, “New Thinking About Reverse Mortgages,” even touts the benefits of using this valuable but usually “non-liquid” asset to help bridge the shortage of retirement funds.

If your plan is to stay independent and you really don’t want to “live with the kids,” then it’s time to take action.

To make retirement work, you are going to have to work longer, save more and strategically use all of your assets.

Shari Crook is the Southeast Regional retirement mortgage manager for OnQ Financial.