Wells Fargo: 80 is the New 65 for Retirees

The idea—and age—of retirement keeps getting pushed back as people find themselves financially unprepared to stop working, especially as many Americans find it very important to retire without mortgage debt, according to an annual Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) Retirement Survey.

Most survey respondents between the ages of 25 and 75, at 86%, say it is important to own their home debt-free by retirement, and 63% said they wouldn’t consider renting after they’ve retired.

The older generation isn’t quite as concerned about being mortgage-debt free by retirement, at 40% of those aged 60 to 75, while those between the ages of 25 and 29 were more than twice as likely to consider this “very important,” at 87%.

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Three quarters of the 1,500 Americans who were surveyed say it’s more important to have a specific amount saved before retiring, regardless of age, as opposed to 20% of think it’s more important to retire at a certain age, regardless of savings.

One quarter of those surveyed say they’ll “need to work until at least age 80” in order for them to live comfortably in retirement, and another three quarters expect to keep working in their retirement years. This includes the 39% who say they’ll need to work just to make ends meet or maintain their lifestyles, although 35% say they’ll keep working because they want to, not because they necessarily need to.

In the 40 to 59 age bracket, more than half, at 54%, say they’ll “need to work,” compared to 34% of those between the ages of 25 and 39.

“The fact that the vast majority of middle class Americans expect to work well past the traditional retirement age has significant societal and economic implications,” said Joe Ready, director of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. “Will people be physically and mentally able to work later in life? What will it mean for young people entering the workforce? And, how does our system of retirement savings need to be reformed to help reduce the savings gap?”

With political leaders discussing cuts to future Social Security and Medicare benefits–programs seniors have traditionally relied on to fund retirement–many Americans are facing a greater need to remain in the workforce, especially after many saw their savings plummet through unemployment, sharp declines in house values, and poorly-performing stocks.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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