BUSINESS

One-Third Of America's Middle Class Plan To Work Into Their 80s: Survey

10/24/2012 11:04 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2012

Retirement is becoming an unaffordable luxury for a growing number of middle-class Americans.

Thirty percent of middle-class Americans, or nearly one in three, say they plan to work until their 80s because they can't afford to retire earlier, according to a new survey of 1,000 Americans by Harris Interactive on behalf of Wells Fargo. But many workers know that may not be possible. Nearly three-quarters of middle-class Americans say that their employer would not want them to work until their 80s.

That's in part because the middle class has been getting squeezed for the past few decades. The U.S.' real median household income, at just $50,054, is roughly at the same level where it was in 1989. While worker productivity has risen 69 percent since 1979, median hourly compensation rose just 6.5 percent during the same time period, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Many Americans also haven't been planning well for retirement. One in two Americans are not saving at all for retirement, according to a recent study by LIMRA, a financial services trade association. Americans need about $1 million in retirement savings to maintain a decent standard of living in retirement, according to Kiplinger.

Even for those that do retire from their job as seniors, retirement may not be very restful. Thirty-nine percent of middle-class Americans said in the Wells Fargo survey that they plan to work in retirement out of financial necessity, according to the survey.

And sadly, some who plan to work into their 80s may be working for their entire lives. The average American dies at age 78, according to the World Bank.

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