Retirement Concerns One Unifying Factor This Election Season

A timely survey from Personal Capital suggests people who are registered with the Republican party are a little more likely to maintain a retirement savings account than Democrats—but both sides of the aisle have serious shortfalls to address.

Online financial advisory firm Personal Capital revealed findings from a new survey that breaks down U.S. workers’ savings behaviors according to their political affiliations.

The survey finds that, while Republicans are more likely to have a retirement account than Democrats, one in five Americans of working age has no retirement savings regardless of party affiliation, “showing Americans as a whole are not well-prepared for their financial future.”

No big surprise, the polling shows Americans believe that the state of the economy and health care system are two of the most important problems facing the country—cited as a top national concern by 33% and 31% of respondents, respectively. These actually lag behind “the threat of terrorism,” however, cited by 48% of the population.  

“Additional issues concerning Americans are crime (24%), immigration (23%), unemployment (21%), education (20%), morality (15%), war (14%) and the environment (12%),” Personal Capital finds. “In spite of the economy being a major issue, personal finances are not, as few people, a mere 8%, list retirement security as a top concern going into this year’s election.”

“Regardless of who wins the presidency, there are 10,000 people who retire each day in this country, and that number is expected to remain the same until the last Baby Boomer turns 65 in 2030,” warns Bill Harris, CEO of Personal Capital. “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.”

Highlighting their embrace of the defined contribution (DC) retirement planning system, the survey found that Millennials feel more secure about their retirement prospects versus the older generations still in the work force. Still, younger people also rank retirement savings behind such issues as terrorism and the cost of education.

While there are many signs of division in the data regarding the two main parties and their presidential candidates, some interesting points of consensus emerged. For example, only 19% of Hillary Clinton supporters and 18% of Donald Trump supporters report feeling “confident with regard to 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 concludes. “We know that with the growing cost of healthcare, 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.”

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