Retirement is the most important thing Americans will ever save for -- more important than summer vacation or home ownership or even their kids' education.

People are surprised to hear it, but you must make your own retirement a priority above paying for your kids' education. Here's the reason: While there are a multitude of scholarships and loans available for college students, there are no scholarships for retirement. Your children will have their whole careers ahead of them to pay off loans, whereas you may putting yourself at financial risk -- and ultimately, your kids' -- if you delay saving for your own retirement.

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