Older job-seekers crowd into an elevator on the way to a employment seminar at a "Work Search" event aimed at older unemployed people in New York City.
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One-third of Americans see a lifetime of work


To retire, or not to retire, that is the question. Wells Fargo asked it, and Americans answered–a third said it’s the latter.

According to the bank’s annual retirement study, released Wednesday, 37% of respondents with incomes between $25,000 and $100,000 said they expected to work until they physically could not work anymore–either because illness, or death stopped them.

The survey also found that 34% anticipated working until at least age 80, up from 25% two years ago.

The trend is due in large part to a lack of confidence that the economy and stock market will allow middle class Americans to save and plan for retirement. Fifty-nine percent reported everyday bills as their chief financial concern, while 42% said it wasn’t possible to pay them and save at the same time.

Diminishing expectations had a generational impact as well, the study found, with 80% of respondents in their 20s reporting uncertainty about investing in the market. This finding is particularly dire, as financial experts agree that the surest way to meet retirement goals is to start early.