A recent Wells Fargo survey has uncovered a rather startling fact about Americans: more than 20% of them would rather die early than retire without enough money. According to the Huffington Post, the survey found that middle class Americans are generally underprepared for retirement — and they know it.
Financial security, especially for the older population, has been at the forefront of the American sensibility for some time. Now, the survey reveals with alarming clarity the state of retirement in America and how well middle-class Americans are, or aren’t, prepared.
Wells Fargo identified the middle class as American households which have an annual income of $50,000 to $100,000 for people ages 30 to 75, and an annual household income of $25,000 to $99,000 for people ages 25 to 29.
In addition to the fact that one in five Americans would prefer an early death to having to live in financially uncomfortable retirement, the survey found that almost 20% of Americans have no retirement savings at all and 34% aren’t currently saving for retirement. Furthermore, those in perhaps the most crucial period of life to save for retirement — between the ages of 50 and 59 — are not saving for it.
The question then arises, why?
According to Huffington Post, the survey indicates that declining or stagnant wages in conjunction with high, fixed costs of living is to blame, not Americans’ inability or unwillingness to save.
Things like housing, transportation, food, and healthcare — all necessities in modern American life — account for 65% of American spending. This, combined with income declines and the fact that in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010 the rate of employers offering retirement fund options decreased 20%, contributes to Americans’ inability to financially prepare for retirement.
The state of the older American population paints a dreary picture of what people who are unprepared for retirement can expect. As of now, an estimated 24% of people who have retired are still working, and 2%t of retirees are looking for jobs. Whatever the methods may be, the point is that Americans really need to start preparing for retirement as well as they are able.