As the election approaches, there is one issue both Democratic
and Republican transitional boomers are uniting behind. According
, members of both parties who are within 10 years of retirement
agree that health care costs pose the greatest threat to their
financial security in retirement.
The 2012 Retirement & Politics Survey, conducted by Allianz
Life Insurance Company of North America, examined the views of
transitional boomers between the ages of 55 to 65. While the survey
revealed some differences between Democratic, Republican and
independent voters, the following were the top issues raised by all
- Health care expenses: 67 percent
- Social Security: 53 percent
- Tax payment changes: 31 percent
- National debt: 26 percent
- Unemployment: 19 percent
- Education: 4 percent
Transitional boomers, regardless of party affiliation, agreed
health care expenses were their No. 1 concern. Of Democratic
respondents, 69 percent identified health care expenses as having
the greatest impact on their retirement outlook, compared to 66
percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans.
The prominence of health care concerns in the survey echoes the
findings of a recent
, which indicated that Americans would prefer having free health
care over a number of other workplace benefits.
Retirement savings philosophy varies by party
While boomers across party affiliations may agree on the issues
of concern, they do differ when it comes to
retirement savings strategies
Republican respondents were more likely to characterize their
retirement savings philosophy as being conservative or moderately
conservative. Nearly 60 percent of Republicans used these terms to
describe their retirement savings, compared to 36 percent of
Democrats. Meanwhile, 39 percent of independents and 29 percent of
those with no party preference said they use a conservative or
moderately conservative approach to retirement savings.
The outcome of the November presidential election has the
potential to change savings strategies for some transitional
boomers, however. Should Republican nominee Mitt Romney win the
election, 30 percent of Democratic respondents say they will become
more conservative in their approach. Conversely, should President
Barack Obama be re-elected, 42 percent of Republicans say they will
become more conservative with their retirement funds.
More Republicans begin retirement planning early
While most transitional boomers began saving for retirement in
their 40s or earlier, the Allianz survey found Republicans were
more likely to begin planning at an early age.
The survey found 79 percent of Republicans had begun their
retirement savings prior to age 50. Only 71 percent of independents
and 69 percent of Democrats said the same.
In addition, only 12 percent of Republicans surveyed said they
had not yet begun saving for retirement. Higher numbers of
Democrats and independents -- 19 percent for both groups --
reported not yet putting away money for retirement. Those with no
political preference were most likely to have failed to
put money aside
for retirement, with more than one in five saying they had yet not
While nothing seems to highlight differing philosophies quite
like a presidential election, the Allianz survey shows there is
common ground between those of both parties when it comes to the
some of the challenges facing individuals nearing retirement age.
Regardless of this election's outcome, the need for workers to plan
carefully for retirement appears unlikely to diminish.