Can working Baby Boomers retire? Some don’t think so

Working Baby Boomers may be the group most stressed about their economic futures, according to the newly released results of the 2012 AARP election survey.

The over-50 citizen advocacy group called 1,852 registered voters, almost three-quarters of whom were 50 and older, between July 10 and July 16. An approximate 1,001 respondents were randomly sampled, and the remainder came from a focused random sample of 50-and-older adults to gain a greater clarity of data for the desired age group. Younger voters were those aged 18-to-49.

Survey workers gathered responses to questions in categories that, when taken as a whole, would create an “Anxiety Index” of voters concerns. Concerns such as inflation, taxes, retirement opportunities, financial security, and health care affordability.

All ages seemed to agree the national economy is in bad shape: three-quarters of voters 50-and-older and 18-to-49 classified the condition of the national economy as at least “Bad.” Though a greater percentage of older voters classified the economy as “Very Bad”—43 percent versus 28 percent.

Younger voters and retirees were remarkably consistent in their responses to the question “How satisfied are you with your own financial situation today?” Sixty-six percent of respondents from both groups were at least somewhat satisfied, and even the “somewhat/very” divide between the groups responses were similar within 1 percent.

Boomers—respondents aged 50-to-64 with full-time employment—had only a 54 percent satisfaction rate with their own financial situation. Boomers were also the most worried about their ability to achieve their financial goals, with worry making up 60 percent of responses.

Boomers had the highest score, at 70 out of 100, on the AARP Anxiety Index. The five greatest fears, from highest reportage to lowest, were:

  • prices rising faster than income
  • not having financial security in retirement
  • having to pay too much in taxes
  • not being able to retire when (they) want for financial reasons
  • having health expenses (they) cannot afford

Seventy-five percent of Boomers reported worry on price inflation, and 62 percent did the same in regards to having health expenses they could not afford.

More than two-thirds, 72 percent, of Boomer survey takers believed they would probably have to delay their retirement.

Only 32 percent of respondents were worried about not being able to find a full-time job with benefits, a statistic that represents a silver lining of resiliency or incredible hubris on the part of the survey-takers.

Boomers also did not believe their retirement would be secure. Only 34 percent of Boomers reported confidence that they would be financially able to live comfortably in retirement. Which may have something to with the fact that only 39 percent of Boomers believe they have saved/are saving enough for retirement, compared to 57 percent of retirees.

As a result, 59 percent of Boomers agree they are planning to rely even more than they had initially planned on Social Security and Medicare programs.

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