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A vote for retirement security

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, October 15, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

It doesn't matter whether they consider themselves Democrats, Republicans or something else, the majority of baby boomers between the ages of 55 and 65 are nervous about the rising cost of health care in retirement.

Allianz Life surveyed what it calls "transition boomers," those who are within 10 years of hanging up their work boots. It questioned them about their political affiliations to determine how that might affect their retirement planning. It's part of the company's effort to understand the first demographic segment in about 100 years retiring without pensions -- or as Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer insights, puts it, "Trying to retire on two legs of a three-legged stool."

"At the end of the day, we think that trying to help a generation retiring without pensions is the business that we are in," she says.

Among those surveyed, here's how people identified themselves.

  • Democrat -- 36 percent.
  • Republican -- 31 percent.
  • Independent -- 21 percent.
  • No preference -- 11 percent.
  • Some other party -- 1 percent.

There were several areas of contention, but when it came to health care, only a minority of every affiliation saw things differently. Overall, 67 percent of transition boomers thought rising health care costs could have the greatest financial impact on their retirement, with 69 percent of Democrats feeling that way, 64 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents.

Social Security came in second among the financial concerns of this age range with 65 percent of Democrats concerned about the future of Social Security, as opposed to only 42 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of independents.

All affiliations say they will see retirement strategy differently depending on whether President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney wins the election. Some 42 percent of Republicans say they will become more conservative in their retirement strategy if President Obama wins, but if Romney wins, only 12 percent will pull back.

Among Democrats, 7 percent say they'll become more conservative if Obama wins. If Romney wins, 30 percent expect to be more conservative.

Independents are in the middle with 23 percent expecting to embrace a more conservative strategy if Obama wins and 17 percent taking that step if Romney is elected.

Allianz didn't ask what becoming more conservative means. Libbe speculates, "It could mean that you would move your money to more fixed income or cash. But if you think that the result of this election could be greater inflation, then cash is a killer."

How do you think this election could affect your retirement planning strategy? Will you modify your savings and investment strategy depending on who wins? Which conservative strategy will you embrace?

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