A key sector of the electorate, baby boomers from 50 to 64 who haven't yet retired, are anxious and dissatisfied with their economic prospects, according to a new survey from AARP, the 37 million member nonpartisan, nonprofit group representing seniors' interests.
Fifty percent of nonretired boomers--a figure that AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond called "startling"--don't think they'll ever be able to retire, according to the survey. While nearly three-fourths think they will have to delay retiring. Nearly 60 percent think the recent economic recession will force them to rely more on Social Security and Medicare.
"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," LeaMond said. "For these voters, 'retirement security' and 'economic security' are largely the same thing."
As the November elections near, expect to see AARP volunteers hitting the campaign trail and town hall meetings, clad in red T-shirts engaging in an aggressive voter education campaign.
AARP, which does not endorse candidates, has a two-pronged approach to the elections, LeaMond told the Alley. First is persuading the candidates to discuss the issues that seniors say matter to them--specifically Medicare and Social Security. Second AARP spreads the word to the public about politicians' positions.
While many voters and politicians focus on jobs, Americans on the cusp of retiring worry about issues like rising prices and stagnant income, health costs, financial security in retirement and taxes.
Three quarters of those surveyed said they worry somewhat or very often about prices rising faster than incomes; nearly three-fifths are worried about health expenses; and nearly seven in 10 worry about financial security and paying too much in taxes in retirement. For comparison's sake, just 32 percent of nonretired boomers regularly worry about finding a full-time job with benefits.
AARP surveyed 536 nonretired baby boomers via telephone July 10-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percent.