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AARP Bulletin Survey on Plans to Spend Stimulus Package Rebates

The AARP Bulletin recently commissioned a nationwide survey to determine how people intended to use the rebates they receive from the Internal Revenue Service as part of the 2008 Economic Stimulus Package. This executive summary reveals that a minority of adults intend to spend the entirety of their stimulus package tax rebates; however, a greater percentage of those ages 50 and older plan to spend their entire rebate than those ages 18-49. Most adults that intend to spend at least some of their rebate say they will purchase personal necessities such as food and clothing; relatively few say they intend to spend their rebates on luxury goods.

The survey of 1,235 respondents ages 18 and older found that:

  • Sixty-one percent of respondents intend to spend at least some of their rebate, while 24 percent intend to spend it all. Thirty-seven percent plan to spend some of the rebate and save the remainder, while 12 percent intend to save the entire rebate.
  • Forty-one percent of 50+ respondents intend to spend their entire rebate, versus 29 percent of those ages 18-49. Eighty-two percent of those ages 50 and older and 86 percent of those ages 18-49 intend to spend some of their rebate.
  • Among those that will spend at least some of their rebate, personal necessities (such as food and clothing) receives the top ranking in terms of the items on which respondents intend to spend. After personal goods, those between the ages of 18 and 49 and those ages 50+ have similar expenses, but slightly different spending priorities. Younger respondents rank housing expenses, paying down consumer debt, and paying energy bills second, third, and fourth, respectively. For those ages 50 and older, these rankings go to paying energy bills, housing expenses, and taking a vacation and/or dining out. Purchasing of luxury goods, which would have the greatest effect in terms of stimulating the economy, ranks seventh for both age groups.

The study was conducted for AARP via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR) using its national omnibus survey service. A nationally representative sample of 1,235 respondents ages 18 and older completed interviews between February 29 and March 9, 2008. For additional information contact Gerard Rainville at 202-434-6295. (4 pages)

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