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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Retirement Security a Minor Concern in Election: Poll

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In the run-up to the November presidential election, Americans think terrorism, the economy and health care are the most important problems facing the country, according to new survey results released Tuesday.

Retirement security barely registers as a concern.

The online financial advisory firm Personal Capital’s 2016 election survey found that 48% of respondents believed the threat of terrorism was the country’s most important problem.

Thirty-three percent cited the state of the economy, and 31% health care.

A mere 8% of respondents listed retirement security as a top concern going into this year’s election.

Other issues that concerned them more:

  • Crime: 24%
  • Immigration: 23%
  • Unemployment: 21%
  • Education: 20%
  • Morality: 15%
  • War: 14%
  • The environment: 12%

The survey found that although Republicans were likelier than Democrats to have a retirement account, one in five working-age Americans had no retirement savings, whatever their party affiliation.

“Regardless of who wins the presidency, 10,000 people retire each day in this country, and that number is expected to remain the same until the last baby boomer turns 65 in 2030,” Personal Capital’s chief executive Bill Harris said in a statement.

“If this survey shows us anything, it’s that we all need to see retirement savings as a priority, because we will all be impacted by it in the future.”

Millennial respondents in the survey felt more secure about their retirement than Gen Xers.

Thirty-one percent of the younger respondents saw education as a priority issue this election, behind the 43% who cited terrorism but ahead of the 28% who listed the economy.

Only 7% of millennials considered retirement savings as a top issue.

“The increasing costs of higher education are having a direct impact on millennials who are holding off on saving for retirement,” Harris said.

“With the average new graduate saddled with $37,172 in debt, up from about $35,000 last year, that may seem like the logical choice today. But, our fear is that this group will hold off until it’s too late.”

Ipsos conducted the online survey in mid-June among 1,005 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 298 were millennials. Forty-one percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 29% as Republicans and 17% as independents.

Clinton vs. Trump

The poll found Americans worried about the consequences of their preferred candidate not winning the election.

Sixty-four percent of Republicans and 18% of Democrats were “more worried” about their retirement savings if Clinton is elected, while 59% of Democrats and 15% of Republicans were similarly concerned if Trump is elected.

In other findings, 57% of millennials from both parties said they felt “very unfavorable” toward Trump, and 49% were “more worried” about their retirement savings if he is elected.

Households that earn less than $50,000 said they are “more worried” if Trump is elected, while those that earn more than $50,000 said the same about a Clinton presidency.

Just 19% of Clinton supporters and 18% of those favoring Trump reported feeling “confident” with their retirement savings.

“Both parties have devoted sections of their official 2016 platforms to Social Security and how they will address retirement security if they are in the White House,” Harris said.

“We know that with the growing cost of health care, education and the shifting economy, Americans will only be able to retire comfortably by planning and saving for the future — no matter who wins the election.”

— Check out 4 Critical Aging Issues the Next President Must Tackle: Ken Dychtwald on ThinkAdvisor.


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