Political Differences Influencing Savings Plans?

January 7, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - More than 40% of Americans plan to save more this year - but only a quarter plan to save more for retirement, according to a new Harris Poll.

Republicans and those identifying themselves as independent voters were more likely to be making plans for saving more, according to the online poll of 2,335 US adults. Forty-three percent of Republicans were planning to save more in the year ahead, as were 44% of independents, while 27% of Republicans and 28% of independents were planning to save more for retirement. That compares with just 35% of Democrats looking to save more, and a mere 22% planning to save more for retirement.

Republican savings behaviors may simply be reflecting their relative optimism about their economic prospects; 30% said they were more secure about their financial situation, compared with just 14% of Democrats. Moreover 25% of Republicans said they thought the economy would improve this year, versus just 11% of Democrats.

On the other hand, independents – who were just about as pessimistic about the economy and their individual financial fortunes as Democrats – were just as committed to saving more as those more optimistic Republicans in the poll taken between December 4 and 12.

Generation “Gaps”

By generation, those in the middle age ranges have the most concern on the economy. Gen. Xers (those ages 31 – 42) and Baby Boomers (those ages 43 – 61) are particularly worried about the economy as a plurality of both generations (40% and 44%, respectively) feel less secure about their financial situation this year.

Only one-quarter (27%) of Echo Boomers (those ages 18-30) feel less secure, perhaps showing that they still have a safety net in the form of their parents. In addition, half of Gen. Xers and Baby Boomers (50% each) feel that the economy will get much worse in the coming year in contrast to Matures (41%) and Echo Boomers (38%).


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States December 4 and 12, among 2,335 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.

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center"> FINANCIAL SECURITY

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center"> " Compared to last year, how secure do you feel about your financial situation? "

class="bwcellparagraphmargin">Base: All adults

TotalPolitical AffiliationGeneration
Rep.Dem.Ind.Echo Boomers


Gen. X


Baby Boomers




MORE SECURE (NET)2130141822251819
Much more secure47323733
Somewhat more secure1723111619171515
Same as last year3436353534283441
LESS SECURE (NET)3827454327404437
Somewhat less secure2417282717232627
Much less secure1410181610171810
Not sure776416743


class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center"> 2008 FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center"> " Which of the following do you expect to do in 2008 in regards to your finances? "

class="bwcellparagraphmargin">Base: All adults

TotalPolitical Affiliation



align="center">Echo Boomers

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center">(18-30)


align="center">Gen. X

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center">(31-42)


align="center">Baby Boomers

class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center">(43-61)



class="bwcellparagraphmargin" align="center">(62+)

Pay down my level of debt4242424729515034
Cut back on my household spending4136444535444537
Save more in the year ahead4143354450464024
Save more for retirement252722282332336
Get rid of one or more credit cards2521252917263220
Refinance my mortgage45541662
Take out a home equity line of credit21223121
I don ' t expect to do anything differently financially in 20081820191522141231