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Americans Forced to Put Off Retirement: Allstate Survey

The dream of self-sufficiency through hard work is still alive, an Allstate survey found, but many middle-class Americans feel they'll be forced to put off retirementfor financial reasons.

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"Baby boomers like to work longer, but almost half of them think they’ll have to work because they have no choice," Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson told CNBC Thursday after the release of the company's 11th annual survey of attitudes toward retirement.

"Americans understand economics," he said. "They thought the recession would be different than it was in the past, and it was. They didn’t think they’d get a benefit from [the Troubled Asset Relief Program] or the stimulus [plan] and they didn’t. They think they’re going to have to work longer and they are going to have to work longer."

Continued low interest rates are having a major impact on savings, but the bigger impact has been the loss of $9 trillion in residential housing value. Wilson said when those age 50 and older were asked at what age they expect to retire, they said 66; those already retired said they had retired at 60.

"If you expect to live to 85 that's a 25 percent reduction" in retirement time, he said.

The survey also found only 27 percent of those nearing retirement think their retirement will be more secure than their parents', 70 percent said the country is on the "wrong track" and 44 percent think their personal financial situation will improve.

Wilson said with the big drop in private company pensions, those nearing retirement believe they will have to rely on their Social Security and Medicare benefits, at a time when many in Congress want changes to those programs