U.S. Middle Class Implosion: 37% Say They’ll Never Retire, Over 40% Can Barely Pay Bills

Photo Credit: CNBCYou’ve heard the story about America’s retirement crisis.

Young people don’t save enough. Older people have to work longer. Public pension benefits are always on the verge of being slashed, and Social Security’s future is anyone’s guess. No one trusts the stock market, but keeping assets in a savings account generates the same return as keeping them under a mattress.

The retirement picture is alarming at best. And now it has come to this: In its annual retirement study of middle-income Americans (income of $25,000 to $100,000), Wells Fargo asked participants if they expect to work until they die.

“This is the first time we asked if people thought they would work until they die or become too sick,” said Laurie Nordquist, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. Thirty-seven percent of middle-income Americans surveyed by Wells Fargo said they have that expectation. The finding translates to just under two in five Americans who believe they will never be able to retire.

Wells included the question based on a larger trend exposed when participants have been asked how many expect to work until they are at least 80. That number was at 34 percent in this year’s survey, a significant rise from 25 percent two years ago. It’s been on a steady rise, too, up from 30 percent in 2012.

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