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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

A third of middle-class Americans say they will work ‘until at least 80’

Published: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 - 12:45 pm

More grist for the public-pension debate ...

Nearly half of middle-class Americans, 48 percent, don’t think that they can save enough for a comfortable retirement, according to a new survey, and 34 percent figure they’ll work until they are “at least 80.”

The poll by Harris Interactive, commissioned by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., found that more than one-half of people say that paying monthly bills trumps saving for retirement, while a little more than four in 10 say that doing both isn’t possible.

The percentage of Americans who said their top concern is paying their monthly bills rose to 59 percent, up from 52 percent in 2012.

Having a clear plan for saving is key, the survey reveals. Ninety-one percent of respondents with a written plan for retirement said they have the willpower to save, versus 75 percent of those who don’t.

However, a little less than one-third of survey respondents ages 40 to 59 said they have a retirement plan, while 69 percent do not. Both groups in that prime retirement-savings demographic estimated they would need a $200,000 nest egg to retire. Their actual median savings is far less: $63,000 among those with a written plan and $20,000 for those without one.

Head over to The State Worker community Facebook page to weigh in with your thoughts on the numbers and what they mean..

2013 Middle Class Retirement Survey

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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