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Across Party Lines, Transition Boomers’ Biggest Worry Is Health Care: Allianz

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A just-released survey by Allianz Life has found that regardless of party affiliation, Transition Boomers—those ages 55 to 65 who are less than 10 years away from retirement—see rising health care costs and Social Security as having the greatest effect on their retirement outlook.

According to Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America’s 2012 Retirement & Politics Survey, 67% of all Transition Boomers listed health care expenses as their top concern–with Republicans at 64%, Democrats at 69%, and independents at 66%.

Social Security ranked second at 53% for all Transition Boomers, followed by tax payment changes (31%), rising national debt (26%), unemployment (19%) and education (4%).

The survey, conducted from Sept. 17 to 20 among a random sample of online panelists with more than 1,200 baby boomers ages 55 to 65, found that, among these six economic issues, Democratic Transition Boomers are more focused on Social Security (65% of Democrats versus 42% for Republicans, 50% for Independents and 54% for those with no preference) and Republicans on rising national debt (38% of Republicans versus 15% for Democrats, 29% for independents and 19% for those with no preference) than their counterparts.

Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer insights for Allianz Life, said in statement announcing the results that “regardless of political affiliation, Americans are facing tough challenges in the years ahead. It’s crucial that everyone starts the process of retirement planning as early as possible to build toward a future with some certainty and security. Finding the time and energy to devote to retirement planning is a challenge, but the strategic choice can pay dividends down the road.”

Regarding the effect the election will have on their approach to retirement savings, 29% of Republican Transition Boomers were likely to become more aggressive if Romney wins while 30% of Democrats would become more conservative. If President Obama is re-elected, 81% of Democratic Transition Boomers anticipate no changes to their retirement approach while 42% of Republicans said they would become more conservative, according to the survey.

As for independents, the majority of this group of Transition Boomers also said the outcome of the election would not trigger a change in their retirement savings strategy. Specifically, if President Obama is re-elected, 64% of independents and 75% of no preference Transition Boomers said they would keep the same retirement savings strategy. If Romney wins, 61% of independents and 73% of no preference Transition Boomers said they would keep the same retirement savings strategy.

The survey also found retirement planning to be particularly important to all Transition Boomers, with 73% of this group starting to save for retirement in their 40s or earlier, and 28% starting in their 30s.

More Republican Transition Boomers say they have started saving for retirement prior to age 50 (79%) than Democrats (69%), independents (71%), or Transition Boomers without political party preference (67%).

In total, 17% of Transition Boomers indicated that they haven’t begun saving for retirement yet. Only 12% of Republicans, 19% of Democrats, 19% of Independents, and 23% of those with no party preference said they have not yet begun saving for retirement.