With the futures of Medicare and Social Security main topics in this year’s election, baby boomers are surprisingly more concerned about another issue.
According to the American Association for Retired Persons’ anxiety index, 75% of the 1,852 registered voters surveyed in July said they were most worried about prices rising faster than their incomes.
Half of the boomers surveyed don’t think they’ll ever be able to retire, while 59% said they believe the recent economic downturn will force them to rely more on Social Security and Medicare.
Sixty-two percent said they were most worried about health expenses, while 73% said not having financial security in retirement caused anxiety. Seventy-one percent expressed concern about paying too much in taxes.
Thirty percent of the boomers surveyed said they regularly worry about being able to find a full-time job with benefits or keep up with their mortgage or rent.
Nonretired boomer voters were also pessimistic about retirement, according to AARP. Nearly three in four (72%) believed they will have to delay retirement, and roughly two in three (65%) worried they wouldn’t have enough to retire.
“We know the issue of jobs is very important to voters age 50-plus, but any meaningful discussion of the economy and this year’s election has to include the future of Social Security and Medicare,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, in a statement. “For these voters, retirement security and economic security are largely the same thing.”
Boomers over the age of 50 said that their personal economic circumstances were negatively affected by political gridlock in Washington (78%) as by the economic downturn (77%). At the time of the July survey, almost half (49%) of these voters disapproved of President Obama’s job performance, and more than eight in 10 (81%) disapproved of Congress.
The latest data showed boomers are evenly split in their presidential vote preference, with 45% for President Obama, 45% for Governor Romney, and 10% not sure.
The survey respondents said they think the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security (91%) and Medicare (88%), while 91% thought that these issues were too big for either party to fix alone and would require both parties to come together.
Overall, neither Obama nor Romney have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security (67%) and Medicare (63%), the data showed. Across party lines, boomers said getting more information on the candidates’ plans for Social Security (72%) and Medicare (70%) will help them determine their vote on Election Day.
“In a razor-tight election, candidates have a major opportunity to reach key voters by speaking about their plans on Social Security and Medicare, and they are making a huge gamble if they ignore them,” LeaMond said.