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Boomers' 'Anxiety Index' High, Voter Survey Reveals

Retirement prospects top economic issues, concerns

En Español| While the issues of job creation and employment are dominating the 2012 presidential campaign, not-yet-retired boomer voters are far more concerned about other economic issues, a new AARP survey reveals. And they're upset that candidates aren't paying more attention to those issues.

See also: What happiness and well-being mean to older Americans.

AARP Survey: Non-retired baby Boomers anxious about the economy and jobs

AARP voter survey shows non-retired boomers are anxious about retirement. — Photo by Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images

Topping their list of economic worries:

  • Inflation
  • Taxes
  • The opportunity to eventually retire
  • Financial security during retirement
  • The affordability of health care

The AARP survey uses these five factors to compile a unique new feature among election-year polls: an "Anxiety Index." Non-retired boomer voters, defined as non-retired 50- to 64-year-olds by the pollsters, scored 70 percent on the Anxiety Index, significantly higher than both the 59 percent scored by 18- to 49-year-olds and the 46 percent scored by those 65 and older.

The results belie a common stereotype of boomers as "comfortable and living high on the hog compared to everyone else," says pollster Greg Strimple of GS Strategy Group, which along with Hart Research Associates helped conduct the survey for AARP. "You see these numbers, and they're anything but. In fact, it's surprising to see that 50- to 64-year-olds are the most politically and economically anxious voters."

The survey, which questioned 1,852 registered voters, including 1,331 ages 50 and older, found the major driver of economic anxiety to be fear about retirement prospects:

The survey, which questioned 1,852 registered voters, including 1,331 ages 50 and older, found the major driver of economic anxiety to be fear about retirement prospects:

  • 72 percent of non-retired boomers believe they will probably be forced to delay retirement, and 50 percent have little confidence that they will ever be able to retire;
  • 65 percent have little confidence that they will have the means to live comfortably in retirement;
  • 59 percent fear that the negative effects of the economic downturn on their retirement savings will force them to rely more heavily on Social Security and Medicare — programs they are concerned that elected officials aren't doing enough to protect.

Next: 6 of 10 boomers fear coming up short in later years. »

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