Let's be frank - there is an international currency war going on right now...and has been for the last 4 years (at least). A currency war is when a country, such as the USA, begins to devalue its currency by increasing the money supply in circulation. This is done by printing money, keeping interest rates low, and/or lowering the capital reserve requirements for banking institutions.
Every country that is involved in the war is basically playing a game of "hot potato", where one country kicks it off by devaluing their currency to make their country's exports appear cheaper to the international market. Then other countries, looking to compete on price, have to devalue their currency in order to allow their country's export product to be competitive with the first country. Let me give you an example:
When the recession began, the US began to issue stimulus programs and started lowering interest rates immediately. In addition, the Feds issued 3 "quantitative easing" programs (actually 4 if you count Operation Twist) and began pumping trillions of dollars into our economy. With money being this cheap - this allows our exports to become more desirable because the price is lower overseas...and our manufacturing sector begins to grow...and jobs are created.
But the result of this is that other countries - such as those in the European Union - looking to keep the recession's woes from entering their countries, begin to follow suit and start increasing the money supply of their country to compete with the US exports. Therefore the ECB (European Central Bank) begins to print money and do "whatever it takes" to keep the recession from causing anymore trouble over on their turf. Now the game of hot potato has begun.
So how can you protect yourself, savings, and retirement plan from being dwindled as our government begins playing games with our money supply? I believe we must create our own bank - a bank that follows our rules because we are the CEO. The most effective way to create your own bank is to first have real assets. Convert your paper money into hard money - and buy gold, silver, etc. to keep in your home. Invest in a safe or find a safe place to keep your assets. As our paper money loses value, this hard currency, or real money, will increase in value...thereby creating a hedge against the losses we're experiecing with paper money in our 4o1K, savings, etc.
Lastly, pay off your debts as well. Keep this process going of buying hard currencies and paying off debts until you are independent or free from being chained to our dollar's woes.