Holiday Stress: What to Get Your Mother is the Least of It

05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET

Run for the hills, the holidays are coming! All rational thought has been chucked out the window as your brain now becomes consumed by what to buy for your mother, your brother and your cousin. the back of your head, you're also stressed about your finances; you are concerned about a shaky housing market and wondering how you are ever going to afford college for your kids, health care, or even eventually if you are ever going to be able to stop working so much and start enjoying your life.

You're not alone. An ABC News/Washington Post poll is reporting consumer confidence levels that are in the basement and when we've gone out and talked to AARP members, we see that health and financial security are their top domestic concerns.

These problems are not partisan problems, they are everyone's problems. There are many heartbreaking stories about people who cannot afford their health care or have seen their financial plan just fall apart.

It's time for everyone to take charge and contribute to ending what is nagging at all of us - we all need to act. For the government, it is time to end the partisan bickering and get down to finding solutions to the skyrocketing cost of health care. For businesses, it's time to provide employees the chance to save at work or look at hybrid pension plans. For you and me, it's time to maybe think about putting a little bit away for our future.

You're not alone in the struggle. Did you know that 75 million people don't have access to retirement savings plans at work? And just over half of all American households have saved less than $25,000 for retirement. Sadly, $25,000 won't get you through a year much less the next 15 years of your life.

Giving up your latte could make the difference, over a thousand bucks a year kind of difference. Take a few minutes to plan for your future. Believe it or not, it might make the chaos of the impending holidays a little less stressful, with or without the caffeine.