"Acting in loco parentis, the government could create powerful incentives to adopt passively managed, appropriately allocated investment programs."- David Swensen
Any incentives to move citizens toward some sort of saving plan would benefit society. More capital is available to develop businesses and retirees would be less dependent of Social Security for sustaining life.
William Bernstein wrote an excellent series of articles over the years on the topic of retirement. He stated it much better than I'm able so here are the references.
The above links will throw the fear of Hades into readers unless one has been saving for years, is very young, or inherited a pile of stock. While the outlook looks grim for anyone north of 50 years, there is hope. Let me tell a counter story to the grim reminders from Dr. Bernstein.
I know a couple who owned their own home and little else by age 57. By continuing to work into his 80s (wife never worked outside the home) and living a simple life style, they managed to save a nice nest egg. In fact the nest egg grew to more than twice what the breadwinner earned over a lifetime of working. And he worked from age 12 till he was 89. Granted, much of the gain occurred during the great bull market from 1982 through early 2000. Nevertheless, all is not lost if one lived a frivolous early life.
Regardless of your current situation, the time to begin saving for retirement is today. Not tomorrow, but today.