October 23, 2012
--- More than a third of
Americans could live at or near poverty in retirement, according to Wells
Fargo’s annual survey on retirement planning attitudes and behaviors. ---
In the final weeks
before the Presidential election, much has been said of the “middle-class
squeeze” and the “fiscal cliff,” but a greater obstacle looms in the distance:
millions of Americans who are underprepared for retirement with diminishing
prospects for how to manage their future and avoid poverty.
Half of middle-class
Americans (52%) say their most important day-to-day financial concern is paying
the monthly bills, up from 37% a year ago, according to the latest annual Wells
Fargo Retirement Survey. Saving for retirement is in second place, with less
than a fifth (16%) saying it is a key concern. Over half of pre-retired
Americans (53%) say they are not confident they will have saved enough for the
life they want in retirement, up from 42% percent in 2011.
One third (30%) of
Americans say they will need to “work until at least 80,” in order to live
comfortably in their retirement years, up from 25% a year ago. Yet, 73% of
Americans said their employer would not want them to work in their 80s. Similar
to 2011, 70% of middle-class Americans say they will work in retirement, with
39% saying they will work out of financial necessity.
Thirty-four percent of
middle-class Americans estimate their retirement income will consist of 50% or
less of their current annual income. According to the Census Bureau, median
household income for Americans in 2011 was $50,054. Americans say they need
less than half of their pre-retirement income, and this translates to $25,000,
close to the poverty line for a family of four, according to the government.