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Retirement and Health Care Costs Weighing Heavy on Americans’ Minds

November 5, 2012

NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Anyone paying attention to the current presidential election knows that health care and retirement have been major topics in the campaign, and with good reason: Americans are gravely concerned about these issues. Nearly three-fourths of those Americans who are not retired agree that they worry about having enough money to do so (74%) and about being able to pay for health care costs in retirement (73%). These fears appear to be tied at least in part to concerns regarding social security, with only two-in-five (41%) of non-retired Americans agreeing with the statement, “I have faith in social security being there when I retire.”

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Additionally, seven in ten Americans – retired and not retired alike – agree that they worry about being able to afford unexpected health care costs (71%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,307 adults surveyed online between August 13 and 20, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

For the nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) that are putting money toward savings, the top goals are rainy day funds for unexpected costs (62%) and retirement (53%).

Not surprisingly, priorities change considerably in households with children; college savings show an exponential increase in importance among respondents with children in their households (44% among those with children in their households, 10% without), and this focus on college savings comes largely at the expense of rainy day (55% with, 65% without) and retirement (42% with, 57% without) savings.

The results show glimmers of hope for two industries, as one-fourth (26%) of adults 18-35 indicate they are saving to purchase a car, and 27% of all Americans are putting money away for vacation.

Worried about the future while also living on the edge
Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans agree that they are living paycheck to paycheck and thus cannot afford to put money in savings, thereby providing no relief to their future worries.

As might be expected, living paycheck to paycheck is more common among younger Americans (53% ages 18-47 vs. 28% ages 67+) and those with children in their households (55% with, 43% without). And debt is not helping: the majority of Americans (59%) would prioritize paying off debt if they came into unexpected funds.

So what?
“There is clear anxiety on the part of the American public regarding their day-to-day finances and those related to their futures,” says David Krane, SVP Harris Interactive. “Yet rather than creating products and services that could alleviate these concerns, bringing peace of mind to their customers, the financial services industry continues to focus its marketing on products and services related to spending and further debt accumulation. Companies that figure out how to take advantage of this missed opportunity are likely to be those that will rebound from the trust disadvantage that the industry now faces and grow their businesses.”

TABLE 1a
AGREEMENT WITH STATEMENTS ABOUT FINANCIAL CONCERNS
“How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base: Varies

                                         AGREE [NET]             Strongly agree               Somewhat agree                  DISAGREE [NET]                Somewhat disagree            Strongly disagree
                                         ----------              --------------               --------------                  -------------                 -----------------            -----------------
                  %                           %                        %                             %                              %                               %
                 ---                         ---                      ---                           ---                            ---                             ---
    (2)I worry about having
     enough money to retire                            74                         38                              36                             26                              17                          9
    -----------------------                           ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (2)I worry about being able
     to pay for my health care
     costs when I retire                               73                         37                              37                             27                              16                         10
    ---------------------------                       ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (1)I worry about being able
     to afford unexpected health
     care costs                                        71                         34                              37                             29                              19                         10
    ----------------------------                      ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (2)Planning for my retirement
     is a key priority to me                           69                         27                              42                             31                              22                          9
    -----------------------------                     ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (1)I feel I need guidance on
     how to best invest my
     savings                                           52                         12                              39                             48                              30                         18
    ----------------------------                      ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (2)I live paycheck to
     paycheck, so I can't afford
     to put money in savings                           47                         22                              25                             53                              28                         25
    ----------------------------                      ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---
    (2)I have faith in social
     security being there when I
     retire                                            41                         11                              29                             59                              28                         32
    ----------------------------                      ---                        ---                             ---                            ---                             ---                        ---

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding
(1)Base: All U.S. adults
(2)Base: U.S. adults who are not retired

TABLE 1b
AGREEMENT WITH STATEMENTS ABOUT FINANCIAL CONCERNS – BY GENERATION, GENDER & CHILDREN IN HH
“How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”
Summary of “Agree” [NET] Ratings

Base: Varies

                                           Total                         Generation                      Gender         Children
                                                                                                                      <18 in HH
                                           -----                         ----------                      ------        ---------
                 Echo              Gen Xers  Baby Boomers  Matures    Males     Females     Yes        No
               Boomers             (36-47)      (48-66)      (67+)
               (18-35)
                ------
                  %                   %            %          %         %          %         %         %        %
                 ---                 ---          ---        ---       ---        ---       ---       ---      ---
    (2)I worry about having
     enough money to retire              74            68       84         76         56       71         77     74          74
    -----------------------             ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (2)I worry about being able
     to pay for my health care
     costs when I retire                 73            63       80         80         69       69         77     70          75
    ---------------------------         ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (1)I worry about being able
     to afford unexpected health
     care costs                          71            66       77         76         59       67         74     70          71
    ----------------------------        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (2)Planning for my retirement
     is a key priority to me             69            60       68         78         66       71         67     66          70
    -----------------------------       ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (1)I feel I need guidance on
     how to best invest my
     savings                             52            58       52         49         46       51         52     54          51
    ----------------------------        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (2)I live paycheck to
     paycheck, so I can't afford
     to put money in savings             47            53       54         40         28       42         52     55          43
    ----------------------------        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    (2)I have faith in social
     security being there when I
     retire                              41            34       33         47         70       43         38     35          43
    ----------------------------        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding
(1)Base: All U.S. adults
(2)Base: U.S. adults who are not retired

TABLE 2
CURRENTLY PUTTING MONEY TOWARD SAVINGS – BY GENERATION, GENDER & CHILDREN IN HH
“Are you currently putting any money toward any ‘savings?’”

Base: All U.S. adults

                       Total                   Generation               Gender      Children
                                                                                  <18 in HH
                       -----                   ----------               ------     ---------
         Echo   Gen Xers Baby Boomers Matures Males   Females  Yes    No
        Boomers (36-47)     (48-66)     (67+)
        (18-35)
        ------
           %       %           %         %      %        %      %     %        %
          ---     ---         ---       ---    ---      ---    ---   ---      ---
    Yes               63           59      61      68       63    65     62     60       65
    ---              ---          ---     ---     ---      ---   ---    ---    ---      ---
    No                37           41      39      32       37    35     38     40       35
    ---              ---          ---     ---     ---      ---   ---    ---    ---      ---

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 3
CURRENT SAVINGS GOALS – BY GENERATION, GENDER & CHILDREN IN HH
“What are you currently saving for?”

Base: U.S. adults who are currently putting money toward savings

                                           Total                         Generation                      Gender         Children
                                                                                                                      <18 in HH
                                           -----                         ----------                      ------        ---------
                 Echo              Gen Xers  Baby Boomers  Matures    Males     Females     Yes        No
               Boomers             (36-47)      (48-66)      (67+)
               (18-35)
                ------
                  %                   %            %          %         %          %         %         %        %
                 ---                 ---          ---        ---       ---        ---       ---       ---      ---
    Rainy day fund /unexpected
     expenses                            62            55       69         60         69       59         65     55          65
    --------------------------          ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Retirement                           53            29       48         77         45       54         52     42          57
    ----------                          ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Vacation                             27            23       31         29         27       28         27     29          27
    --------                            ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    College [NET]                        19            39       23          9          2       22         17     44          10
    ------------                        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
        College costs for my kids        11            11       22          8          2       11         10     30           4
        -------------------------       ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
                College costs for        10            32        2          1      *           12          8     17           7
                           myself
                           ------
    Car purchase                         17            26       18         11         12       18         16     23          15
    ------------                        ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Home purchase                        11            22       11          5          4       10         11     12          11
    -------------                       ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Marriage                              3             8        2      *              1        3          3      3           3
    --------                            ---           ---      ---     ---           ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Birth of a child                      2             5        5      *              -        2          3      4           2
    ----------------                    ---           ---      ---     ---           ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Other                                14            19       19          9         15       12         17     14          15
    -----                               ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding
* signifies less than 1%
- signifies 0%

TABLE 4
$100,000 WINDFALL SPENDING – BY GENERATION, GENDER & CHILDREN IN HH
“If you won the lottery or received an inheritance of $100,000 today, what would you be most likely to do with that money?”

Base: All U.S. adults

                                           Total                         Generation                      Gender         Children
                                                                                                                      <18 in HH
                                           -----                         ----------                      ------        ---------
                 Echo              Gen Xers  Baby Boomers  Matures    Males     Females     Yes        No
               Boomers             (36-47)      (48-66)      (67+)
               (18-35)
                ------
                  %                   %            %          %         %          %         %         %        %
                 ---                 ---          ---        ---       ---        ---       ---       ---      ---
    Pay off any existing debt/
     loans                               59            55       73         60         44       57         60     63          57
    --------------------------          ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Save for a rainy day fund /
     unexpected expenses                 42            36       37         45         51       37         46     34          45
    ---------------------------         ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Invest toward my retirement          33            20       32         46         32       37         30     23          37
    ---------------------------         ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Go on vacation                       19            19       17         19         22       16         22     20          19
    --------------                      ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Donate to charity                    18            14       12         19         32       19         17     16          19
    -----------------                   ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Buy a car                            17            22       14         14         16       18         16     20          16
    ---------                           ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Treat myself to something
     that I would not normally
     spend money on                      15            17       12         12         21       16         14      9          16
    --------------------------          ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Buy a house                          13            19       17         10          4       10         16     19          11
    -----------                         ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Pay for my kids' college             10             8       18         10          4        8         12     24           5
    ------------------------            ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---
    Go back to school                     6            15        5          2      *            7          6     10           5
    -----------------                   ---           ---      ---        ---     ---         ---        ---    ---         ---
    Other                                10            10        8          9         17        9         11      6          12
    -----                               ---           ---      ---        ---        ---      ---        ---    ---         ---

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding
* signifies less than 1%

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 20, 2012 among 2,307 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll(®) #61, November 5, 2012
By: Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients–stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive


Source: PR Newswire