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Democratic, GOP Anxiety Over Retirement Looks Different

In short, and perhaps not surprisingly, Democrats want employers to offer more support for 401(k) plan participants, while Republicans are more likely to want more control and independence over their retirement plans.

Interestingly, Americans of all political persuasions say they don't want their Social Security income cut in the name of federal debt reduction.

The Wells Fargo study reports that the number of middle-class U.S. adults who would "accept a reduction" in Social Security or Medicare to help pay down government debt fell to 37%, down 6% from 2011. Men are more likely to agree to have their retirement benefits pared back than women, at a rate of 44% to 26%, the study reports.

In addition 30% of Americans say they will have to work into their 80s to secure a comfortable retirement, compared with 25% who said the same thing last year. But 71% of respondents said their employers wouldn't want them as an employee in their 80s.

That's a big problem, Wells Fargo says.

"It is so tough for Americans to save for retirement, and we feel it is very important to keep shining the light on this issue," explains Joe Ready, director of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. "People say they'll work longer, but how possible will this be for millions of Americans? Preparing for retirement can't be kicked down the road, because the other picture that is emerging is how many people will live very close to the poverty line in retirement. We've got to marshal our resources as a country, an industry and as individuals to deal with the issues creating this cliff."

No matter what their political persuasion, a clear majority of Americans are worried about having enough money to live on in retirement. Republicans and Democrats may differ on how to get there, but getting across the finish line intact financially seems to be the biggest priority of all working Americans.

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