Bob Reynolds is a man on the go. In the 1980s, he took over Fidelitys modest 401(k) business and built it into an industry heavyweight. By the turn of this century, he had ascended to chief operating officer at Fidelity. In 2006, while still at Fidelity, Reynolds reportedly finished second in the contest to become the next commissioner of the National Football League. When it became clear that the Fidelity CEO job would stay in the family--founder Ned Johnsons daughter, Abigail, later took the companys top role-- Reynolds looked for a new challenge and took on the responsibility in 2008 of turning around Putnam Investments, which had fallen on hard times in the early 2000s. In 2014, Reynolds also became CEO of Great-West Financial, which shares a common owner with Putnam. Great-West Financial owns a substantial insurance business and operates one of the nations largest recordkeeping operations, Empower Retirement.

Online financial-planning tools have a habit of spitting out terrifying numbers when people use them to figure out how much to save for retirement. Most tools, from the AARP’s to the Social Security Administration’s, yield similar answers when one enters spending estimates, expected salary increases, and assets: They tend to advise their users (most of whom are workers in their 40s or 50s) to have 10 times the amount of their salary in savings before they retire. It’s a cutoff that some economists claim is too high, but it’s actually quite realistic—and presents a good argument for saving aggressively.

Ten times most people’s salaries is usually a lot higher than what they have saved up. First, more than half of workers don’t have more than a few thousand dollars saved up in retirement accounts. And by the time the average professional is between the ages of 50 and 64, his or her household has accumulated about $181,000 in 401(k) and IRA accounts. That’s only 10 times their salaries if they’re earning below the poverty line.

Change is hard.

Living off Social Security is even harder.

Yet, 36 percent of Baby Boomers plan to rely on Social Security as their primary source of income, according to a recent study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Thirty-four percent have a retirement or savings account they plan to use to supplement their post-employment income. Just 12 percent are looking forward to company-funded pensions, the study revealed.

Many retired government workers have enjoyed pension checks as part of their retirement package. Under this defined benefit plan, the longer the employee works and the more he or she makes, the higher the automatic payouts.

However, that perk may come to an end for future employees of Rutherford County government, and we think it's probably about time.

Any proposed changes affecting county employees' retirement package do not affect current employees, according to county Human Resources Director Sonya Stephenson.

The changes also will not affect teachers, who are covered under the state's retirement plan, Stephenson told the seven-member county Steering, Legislative and Governmental Committee during its meeting earlier this month.

If the plan Stephenson outlined is approved, future hires would fund a portion of their own retirement through payroll deductions of 2.5 or 5 percent of their incomes as decided by the Rutherford County Commission. The county would contribute at a lower percentage than it currently does.

The proposed change in retirement funding makes sense to bring government workers in line with the type of benefits typically offered in the private sector. Investment retirement plans also are more mobile, making them better suited to the way today's workforce operates.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American worker's average tenure per job is 4.4 years. A pension plan is of little use if the worker is never fully vested. However, with a 401(k)-type package, employees can take their retirement investments with them when they change jobs.

401(k)-type investments can also be rolled into IRAs, offering a more personalize retirement plan when an employee leaves a county position with investment choices tailored to an individual's risk tolerance.

The committee will review the issue again when Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System staff members advise the commissioners about their options during a 5:30 pm meeting Nov. 3.

The Steering Committee meeting earlier this month in which Stephenson proposed the change was packed with current county employees who will not be affected by the change. They were there, presumably, to lobby on behalf of their future coworkers.

That is admirable. However, change, difficult as it sometimes can be, is as sure as death and taxes. The work world is shifting away from pension-based retirement plans. Rutherford County officials would be wise to keep up.

The opinions expressed in this column are based on a consensus of discussion with The Daily News Journals Editorial Council, which meets at noon Tuesdays at The DNJ offices on the fourth floor of the SunTrust building, 201 E. Main St. Meetings are open to the public.

The demographics arent playing in womens favor, at least when it comes to getting through retirement without going broke.

Because women earn less than men and typically live longer, they will on average have a 26 percent savings gap compared with their male counterparts, according to a recent study from financial services firm Financial Finesse. An average 45-year-old woman today is likely to have a retirement savings gap of $268,404 by the time she reaches 65, the group found.

The double-whammy of lifelong lower earnings combined with a longer life expectancy means women need to set aside $126 for every $100 saved by men -- at least if they want to survive retirement without ending up in dire straits.

Still, its not as if men are getting off scot-free, given that the typical 45-year-old will end up with a $212,256 shortfall by the time he reaches retirement age, the study found.

Everybody will have to take a lifestyle cut in retirement if they dont make some changes between now and retirement, said Kelley Long, a financial planner with Financial Finesse.

But the issues are especially acute for women, who need to be thinking about and planning for these issues, no matter what their age, Long said. Women in their 20s need to start saving if they havent already, and failing to take a company match in an employers retirement program can be a costly mistake. Only 80 percent of women surveyed by Financial Finesse take their companys full match, compared with 86 percent of men.

Previous research has found that women not only have less set aside than men for retirement, but that very few are confident about their retirements. Only 14 percent of women in the workforce believe theyll be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle, a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found earlier this year.

A career gap can add to womens risk and uncertainty, given that so many take time off from work to take care of children or older relatives. That also plays into the costs of retirement for women, Long said.

The fact of the matter is women tend to live longer than men. When men are at the end of their lives, they tend to have a wife to take care of them, she said.

The flip side, of course, is that its more likely older women will reach the end of their lives without a partner to help take care of them, which raises the likelihood that theyll have to pay for nursing home care, home health aides, or other professional help.

What's the most effective way to improve your retirement prospects? When asked this question, many people would say getting the highest return on their investments. And when asked how to do that, they might suggest picking companies that will outperform the market and then investing in those companies -- or hiring money managers to pick outperforming companies.

If you could do that, your assets would indeed grow more quickly than other investors'. But that's really hard to do. In fact, in 2014, 86% of large-cap active fund managers underperformed their benchmark, according to data from SP Dow Jones Indices. In other words, among people whose job is to choose large-cap stocks they think will outperform, 86% of them did worse than the overall market.