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Baby Boomer Poll By AARP Finds Half Don't Expect To Retire

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In this Sept. 30, 2008 file photo, people walk to work on Wall St., in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
In this Sept. 30, 2008 file photo, people walk to work on Wall St., in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

Baby Boomers are more worried than those in other age groups about retirement security, according to a poll released Wednesday by seniors advocacy group AARP, and half of them expect they will never retire.

Three-quarters of voters in the Boomer generation -- in this survey, classified as non-retired voters aged 50 to 64 -- agree with members of other age groups that the economy is bad. But only 54 percent of Boomers are satisfied with their own financial situation, compared with 66 percent of retired voters and voters younger than 49.

And more Boomers are worried about reaching their financial goals, with two thirds expecting to delay retirement. Exactly half are not confident they'll ever retire, compared with 43 percent of younger voters.

It's unusual for Boomers to have such pronounced economic worries, according to one of the pollsters responsible for the data.

"People between 50 and 64 in general are at the peak of their earning power," said Guy Molyneux, a partner with Hart Research, which conducted the survey. "We do not expect to see the highest levels of economic anxiety among that age cohort."

Boomer anxiety is less surprising given the effect of the financial crisis on 401(k) plans, shrunken home values and the fact that fewer and fewer companies offer defined-benefit pension plans. Not to mention the threat of prolonged joblessness -- while still lower than the national average, unemployment rates for older workers have reached record levels as Boomers cling to the labor force. And the average duration of unemployment for someone older than 55 and up is nearly a year, compared with 35 weeks for younger workers.

What's more, half of Americans die broke, according to a recent study.

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Boomers' retirement concerns mean the presidential candidates ought to say more about their plans for entitlement programs that kick in for people in their sixties, said AARP's Nancy LeaMond.

"Any meaningful discussion of the economy in this year’s election has to include the future of Social Security and Medicare," LeaMond said. "Voters are looking for more info from the candidates about their plans for the future of these lifeline programs."

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