There are several articles and sites that will calculate what you should have saved for retirement at every age during your career. For example, by age 40 you “should” have 3x your annual household income. For a household earning $75,000 a year, that would be $225,000 in your 401k plans and IRAs.

These articles and calculators can be depressing, let me just warn you. But they are at least one barometer of measurement of where you are and, possibly, where you “should” be.

I’ll just tell you straight up that we are not quite where we “should” be. But all the calculations point to us catching up in time for retirement. And it makes sense. We (more specifically, I) made poor money decisions up until my early 40’s. At the time we couldn’t save much for retirement (like most people) because we had a ton of debt to service each month (like most people). Car payments, credit cards, student loans, and more. There wasn’t much left of the paycheck each month once all those obligations were met. But, once we pulled it together and got out of debt, we’ve been able to save much more than the average American, and in a few years we will catch up and have what we “should” have in our accounts. And a few years after that we’ll be doing even better.

The lesson, as always, is that the younger you start doing smart things with money, the faster you will build wealth for your family and your retirement. So if you aren’t where you “should” be, there is hope. Decide that you are going to Do Better With Money today. Get that debt paid off. And then get about investing 15% for retirement.