As the election approaches, there is one issue both Democratic and Republican transitional boomers are uniting behind. According to a recent survey, 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 survey respondents:
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 MSN/MoneyRates.com poll, 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.