So much for the golden years

In this photo illustration, an old age pensioner checks what is left of her weekly state pension on Nov. 6, 2008, in Conwy, Wales.

Three-quarters of Americans think they’ll have to work during their retirement years. Nearly 50 percent of those say they’ll continue in the same job or one of similar responsibility. One quarter say they don’t believe they’ll be able to retire at all until they’re 80 years old.

These are the rather depressing results of a new Wells Fargo survey. Only 1500 Americans were polled, according to a Reuters report, but the stats are sobering. The main factor tarnishing their retirement dreams? Savings. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they need to significantly cut back on spending now to save for retirement.

"For several years now, we've seen that Americans are undersaving for retirement and a majority do not trust the stock market as a place to invest for retirement," Joe Ready, Well Fargo's director of Institutional Retirement and Trust, told Reuters.

This is bad news for boomers nearing retirement, but it’s also pretty bad news for the economy. Americans that are being spooked into saving more will naturally not spend as much as they did in the past. And right now we need someone to spend. Congress won’t do it and the banks won’t do it, so it’s up to Joe and Wilma Public. And because Joe and Wilma are becoming increasingly skeptical of government’s ability and/or willingness to provide for them in later life, they’re socking away every penny they can. You can’t blame them for that.

About the author

Paddy Hirsch is a Senior Editor at Marketplace and the creator and host of the Marketplace Whiteboard. Follow Paddy on Twitter @paddyhirsch and on facebook at www.facebook.com/paddyhirsch101

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...