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Among 50- to 64-year-olds surveyed by the AARP, the majority scored a 70 per cent on the group’s Anxiety Index, landing far ahead of the 18- to 49-year-old sect, which scored 59 per cent. Seniors over 65 were the most relaxed of the bunch at 46 per cent. “The results belie a common stereotype of boomers as ‘comfortable and living high on the hog compared to everyone else’,” said Greg Strimple of GS Strategy Group, which conducted the survey with AARP and Hart Research Associates. “You see these numbers, and they’re anything but.”
What’s keeping them up at night?
The AARP cites a handful of stressors, including inflation, health care and their ability to retire, but it all can be summed up in two words: the economy.
Nearly three-quarters said they fear they’ll have to delay retirement and 50 per cent said they doubt they’ll ever even get that far. Of those who do manage to leave the workforce, about two-thirds weren’t confident they’d be able to live comfortably.
“People in this age group are facing a difficult transition, and they’re worried about whether they can do it,” said Jacquelyn James of the Sloan centre on ageing & Work at Boston College. “Most people had planned for a three-legged stool that would give them a happy, healthy retirement: a pension, their own savings and Social Security and Medicare.
“But over the past 15 years, pensions have been disappearing, and their investments have been hit hard by the downturn. Now, they’re worrying that politicians are not going to continue to support the entitlement programs. That’s why some are feeling that they need to add a fourth leg to the stool: continuing to work.”
The survey included responses 1,852 registered voters, including 1,331 ages 50 and older.