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Finances, election worry boomers, retirees

Kathleen Ryan
Colorado News Service

DENVER – The economic downturn of the last few years is causing stresses for an unusual group of Coloradans. A new survey from AARP finds that baby boomers and retirees are worried about their financial future.

The major driver of the anxiety? Concerns about retirement. About three-quarters of voters 50 years of age or older say they’re worried they’ll need to delay their retirement, and more than half think their retirement won’t be comfortable – or they won’t be able to retire at all.

Pollster Guy Molyneux with Hart Research says these findings are not normal for this age group.

“People between the ages of 50 and 64 are at a peak of earning power in their life, have more money saved usually than younger people do. So we do not expect to see the highest levels of economic anxiety among that age cohort.”

The poll found these concerns cross party and economic lines.

The AARP survey was conducted last month with 425 registered voters statewide older than 50 – and about one-third were still in the workforce.

Molyneux says these worries make up the “anxiety index” – and the worries are more intense for those age 50 and older who have not yet retired.

“What the boomers have taken away from all of this, the stresses of this economic catastrophe and their particular concerns about retirement, is they’ve decided this makes Social Security and Medicare more important than it ever was before.”

Pollster Greg Strimple with GS Strategy Group says the respondents want the candidates in the fall election to be able to address these issues.

“What you see here is if the candidates really want to tap into the concerns about this economically anxious electorate, there are other ways to do it, and it’s really along the lines of economic and health-care security.”

He says the poll shows that strengthening both Social Security and Medicare are critically important to this age group.

The full poll results can be found at www.aarp.org.

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