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Gen X Is More Worried About Retirement

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

April 27, 2022 — Of all the current demographic generations, Gen X is the one most worried about its retirement, according to a research study from the SOA Research Institute. They are the folks born between 1965 and 1980, and are the next demographic group to start retiring. Gen X came immediately after baby boomers (1946-1964), but before Gen Y/Millennials (1981-1996), and then Gen Z. Gen Xers are currently between the ages of 42 and 57.

The SOA study researched a number of questions about their retirement preparation and feelings about financial security.

Working. About 72% of Gen X is working for pay, roughly the same percentage as own their own home. Gen Xers are more likely to own their own home than millennials (73% vs. 60%), and also have slightly higher household incomes (about 50% earn $100,000+). Baby boomers have a higher rate of home ownership than both groups.

Financial picture. Of all the demographic groups reporting in the study, Gen X painted the most pessimistic picture. They are less likely than boomers and millennials to feel their finances are under control, or for being financially ready for retirement. Millennials are more concerned about their debts than Gen X.

Feelings about financial planning. In this category as well, Gen X is the least optimistic of all groups about being under control and satisfied. Only 36% of them feel optimistic, compared to 46% for late baby boomers and 39% for millenials. Given that Gen X is older than millennials and have had less time to prepare and accumulate wealth, this confidence gap is concerning.

Dollars for retirement. In this category Gen X is a little bit ahead of millennials. Roughly the same percentage of both groups have saved only $10,000 or less (25%), but 22% of Gen X has saved over $500,000, compared to only 9% for millennials and 31% for boomers.

Other concerns about retirement. About 6 out of 10 of Gen X members are concerned about issues like being able to maintain their standard of living or being able to financially handle health concerns. Some 25% are very concerned about these factors.

Impact of the pandemic. Both Gen X and Gen Y show increased concerns about retirement thanks to the Covid pandemic. It has clearly had a negative effect on both demographic groups, as shown in a decline in confidence from a pre-pandemic survey (2018) by the same organization.

Bottom line

The authors of the study point to the impact of the 2008 world wide recession as a big factor in Gen X’s depressed levels of retirement confidence. This group was early in their careers when the markets crashed back then and unemployment soared, and these factors clearly set back their finances and retirement preparation. The study authors recommend that Gen X consider steps like setting clear goals, working longer, take Social Security later, and saving more to help mitigate their situation.

We would love to hear from you Gen X!

Since this website started in 2007 most of our Members have been baby boomers. But with the youngest boomers now 58, that should start to shift more to Gen X. If you are a member of that generation, please share thoughts about your situation, and how it might differ from the generations ahead or behind you. Thanks!

Posted by Admin on April 25th, 2022

2 Comments »

  1. I am a Gen X and I agree. Concerned about quality of life, I don’t want to retire and hoard my pennies. I am concerned about healthcare costs, the availability of services where I want to retire. I didn’t start saving until recently, and have been self employed most of my life. My funds went to living, kids, etc and very little left for savings. I will say I do feel confident that I have no credit card debt no car loans, I do pay off my purchases monthly. This is something I trained myself to do over 25 years ago. However, I don’t have income generating investments such as rentals or air bnb’s. I am worried about the lack of funds in our social security system. Early retirement would be nice so I can still function and enjoy life, I worry about failing health and working then retiring and passing away within the 1st year like I have heard.

    by Kristen Campbell — April 30, 2022

  2. My wife and I are Gen X-ers born in the early 70’s. We’ve been maxing out our IRA’s and 401K’s since we began our post-college jobs so we are in a fairly good state financially speaking. The law allows per annum a savings level of $26K in 401K and $7K in IRA for 50+ years of age so we have been taking advantage of that step up provision the past 3 years. No one knows what will happen in the future so far as it concerns health, job status, marital status, etc. but by max saving from the early 1990’s through now we have positioned ourselves to better endure whatever bad stuff happens. It is rather unfortunate that we’ll likely only see 75% of our projected social security payout and no telling what state Medicare will end up in 10 years. But alas, if the worst happens, be prepared to move to a lower cost country and become a legal resident so one may access the almost free public healthcare and add a cheap private insurance policy to supplement that.

    by danno — May 2, 2022

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