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Wells Fargo: 80 Is the New 65 for Many Retirees

Thursday, 17 Nov 2011 08:24 AM

The age of 80 has become the new 65. The magic retirement age, long considered to be at 65, has become irrelevant thanks to rising healthcare costs, mortgage obligations and other debts.

About a quarter of middle class Americans — earning $25,000 and $99,000 a year — see 80 as a good age to shoot for when it comes to retirement, a Wells Fargo study shows.

The rising costs of living, longer life spans and difficulties saving enough to retire are prompting many to write off calling work quits at 65.

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Plus more Americans recognize they'll need to save more when they do clock out for the last time.

"Another interesting shift in the mindset of Americans is their perception of how much money they need. Three-fourths of respondents said it is more important to have a specific amount versus a date: $350,000 was the median nest-egg goal, but median retirement savings were only $25,000 dollars," says Laurie Nordquist, executive vice president of institutional retirement at Wells Fargo, according to CNBC.

(Getty Images photo)
"Social Security cuts and mortgage debts are on the top of their minds," Nordquist adds.

Overall, 86 percent of the respondents say they want to pay off their mortgage before retirement, but 91 percent of those aged 25 to 29 said such a goal was very important, a figure that drops to 40 percent among those over 60, Well Fargo adds.

About a quarter of those in their 20s and 30s aren't expecting income to come from Social Security while the average consensus of that age group sees Social Security covering about a fifth of retirement funding.

That means most can expect to work longer and live more modestly now in order to enjoy some sort of lifestyle during retirement.

It may even mean doing a little work here and there after retirement.

"I'm talking with the tax man now to see what the options are. I wasn't planning on delaying retirement, no. But I'm considering part-time work," says Linda Wilson, 63, tells CNBC.

Wells Fargo bankers agree that people need to put away visions of grandeur during retirement.

"People are starting to move toward understanding the different levers of what they’re going to have to do to make it in retirement," Joseph Ready, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust, tells Bloomberg.

For those drawing down Social Security, there's some good news out there: they're about to get their first raise in two years.

Social Security recipients can expect to receive a cost-of-living adjustment of 3.6 percent starting in January, CNN reports.

The last raise came in 2009 but low inflation rates have prompted the program to forgo doling out cost-of-living increases over the last two years.

"This is good news for seniors, who certainly feel they are falling behind," says David Certner, AARP's legislative policy director, according to CNN.

"When you talk to people, they don't feel costs are going down."

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