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Survey: "Anxiety Index" Especially High Among Pre-Retirees

PHOTO: Baby boomers worry they will have to delay retirement or never quit working at all.   2010 Microsoft Corporation
PHOTO: Baby boomers worry they will have to delay retirement or never quit working at all. 2010 Microsoft Corporation
August 13, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas - People ages 50 to 64 are today's "most politically and economically anxious voters," according to a new AARP survey known as the "Anxiety Index."

Seventy-two percent of respondents in that age group think they likely will have to delay retirement. More than half fear they won't be able to retire at all.

Retirement educator and author Andy Landis hears such concerns frequently, but says sometimes the anxiety can be minimized by running the numbers.

"First of all, let's get clarity. Sit down with one of those simulators or with a financial planner and let's see where we stand. How far apart are we from the numbers we need to make ends meet?"

He suggests a trial-run - living with projected retirement income - for increasing confidence. Many people, he says, decide that delaying retirement for just a few years can make a big difference when it comes to savings and benefits.

The survey found that 65 percent of pre-retirees doubt they'll be able to live comfortably in retirement. Pollster Guy Molyneux with Hart Research Associates says such findings aren't typical for this age group.

"People between the ages of 50 and 64 are at a peak of earning power in their life. They 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."

He thinks today's unusually high anxiety index among those age 50 and older who have yet to retire is tied to current economic and political conditions.

"What the boomers have taken away from all of this - the stresses of this economic catastrophe and their particular concerns about retirements - is they've decided this has made Social Security and Medicare more important than it ever was before."

According to the survey, only one-third of people age 50 and older are concerned about finding or creating jobs. Instead, their top worries center around other aspects of financial security - such as inflation, taxes, and health-care costs.

The survey is online at

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX