Today's is the last report of the Elderblogger Survey covering personal finance and politics. I haven't posted charts for all the questions or even mentioned some. If they put me to sleep, I have no doubt you would feel the same. You're not missing any important information.
As with all parts of the survey results, these caveats apply:
Also, please note that the capital letter “R” does not show up well when it appears in a label on the horizontal axis (it's a free, online chart service , and I don't know how to fix that). Total of percentages may be slightly off due to rounding.
What is your annual gross income (in U.S. dollars)?
This chart looks pretty nice, solidly middle class and comfortable. Let's not forget, however, the more than 20 percent who undoubtedly are scrimping by.
The numbers in the horizontal axis represent thousands of dollars.
What are your sources of income?
This was as multiple choice question with the problem I explained in other parts - the percentages in the charts reflect the percentage of all the answers chosen rather than of the number of people who answered. There are 996 choices represented in this chart.
What percentage of your income is from Social Security?
Horizontal axis is percentage of income; vertical axis is percentages of respondents.
Have you ever or do you now skip meals because money is tight?
Of the people who answered this question, about 30 say they sometimes skip meals.
Have you ever or do you now skip medications and/or not fill prescriptions for financial reasons?
More than go hungry skimp on medications – about 50 people in this survey. This should never happen in our country.
Did you lose money in the financial collapse of 2008?
Wow. Look at that number. Seventy percent of us.
If you answered yes to the question about losing money in the 2008 financial collapse, have you recouped those losses?
I'm part of the 24.3 percent in this chart who haven't recouped. I lost so much money that I have never regained my stomach for even the slightest risk. I know this is stupid, but I can sleep at night.
What are your political leanings?
It's obvious that I'm speaking to choir here on political issues. The truncated labels in the horizontal axis are:
Democratic Party member
Republican Party member
Green or other party member
Have you contributed money to a political party or candidate?
Do have have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama?
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Congress?
When professional pollsters ask this question, they often follow up by asking about each respondent's own representative and senators. The surprise (to me) is always that nearly everyone approves of their representatives. Given the number of lawmakers who vote against the people's interests, I am baffled by that.
But in general, Congress better look out for the TGB crowd in the next election.
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Supreme Court?
I'll bet this would look quite different if I had asked about individual justices.
How concerned are you about the political sustainability of Social Security?
How concerned are you about the future of Medicare?
I'm surprised how close the numbers are on these two questions. Personally, I am hugely more concerned about Medicare than Social Security.
Do you contact your Congressional representatives about Social Security and Medicare issues?
Apparently, we are an activist group in this regard. The two yes answers are modified by “frequently” and “occasionally.”
Social Security can pay 100 percent of benefits for about another 20 years. After than, it can pay about 75 percent if nothing is done.There are several small fixes that would keep Social Security solvent for 75 years. Which do you prefer?
This is the last multiple choice question. It includes the problems cited on all the previous ones. In this case, there are 860 answers. The abbreviated labels in the horizontal axis mean:
• Increase the Social Security tax by one or two percent
• Eliminate the salary cap
• Raise the salary cap but don't eliminate it
• Collect Social Security tax on additional kinds of income, not just salaries
• Gradually raise the full eligibility age to 69 or 70
• Apply a means test
There are two charts to include all the answer choices.
And that chart brings us to the end of thie 2013 TGB Elderblogging Survey. I'm glad some of you enjoyed it and as unscientific as it is, it's given me a general sense of who reads Time Goes By. Thank you all who took part.