Will Gen X ever shake its slacker reputation? They’re getting close to retirement age, and are being out-saved by everyone else.
Fifty-five percent of Gen X believe they’ll be able to retire comfortably, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS). Meanwhile, 62 percent of boomers and 67 percent of millennials feel they will.
To make matters worse, a third of Gen X says they have no money saved at all for retirement, according to a study from wealth management firm Personal Capital.
“Despite the hurdles they may have to overcome to reach their retirement goals with a shortened runway, it’s not too late for Gen Xers to get serious about preparedness,” says Personal Capital VP Michelle Brownstein. “Contextualizing savings — or lack thereof — by talking to an advisor or using online resources is a great first step. Americans need a retirement wake-up call, and these findings should serve as the alarm.”
Gen X retirement woes
Gen X was hit hard by the Great Recession. In fact, their generation is more likely than millennials and boomers to say they “may never recover” or have “not yet begun to recover” from it, according to a CNBC report.
Many of Gen X fall in the age group that has been called the “sandwich generation.” And what that term refers to is middle-aged people who have found themselves taking care of their adult children and aging parents. Some of this group is made up of younger boomers, but predominately it’s Gen X.
Debt.com has previously reported on the costs of being a caregiver to an elderly family member. The average costs of medical supplies are $273 a month, on average. And food costs are $159 monthly. Thirty-four percent of caregivers use almost a quarter to 100 percent of their monthly budget to take care of an elderly family member. And that’s not mentioning having their adult children in the house.
One expensive sandwich
As many of their millennial children dealt with the recession by taking out student loans to go to college, they graduated with heaps of student loan debt and boomeranged back to their parents’ homes.
Being a part of the sandwich generation may explain why 37 percent of Gen X say they won’t be able to retire. Despite the fact that they’d like to stop working today, they don’t believe they can afford to, says a study from TD Ameritrade reported in USA Today. This is how bad retirement savings have gotten for Gen X…
- Behind on savings: 43 percent
- Worried about running of out of money once they leave the workforce: 49 percent
- Aren’t saving for, or investing in anything: 17 percent
- Expect to be “very secure” in retirement: Only a third, compared to nearly half of boomers
Is there any hope for this generation to pull off retirement savings before the big day comes?
A light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s going to take work
Members of Gen X are heading into their peak earning years. Gabriel Garcia, an executive from investment service company Pershing Advisor Solutions opined through CNBC that “it’s high time Gen X takes retirement seriously.”
Gen X should see an increase in income and savings over the next 12 years, according to Deloitte Consulting. The generation held 14 percent of the total net wealth in the U.S. in 2015. By 2030, financial experts at Deloitte predict Gen X to hold 31 percent, and will be overtaking boomers as the wealthiest generation shortly after.
According to a 2016 study from TCRS, 40 percent of Gen X say they’re procrastinating their retirement savings. That’s compared to 28 percent of boomers, and 52 percent of millennials — who have plenty of time left to save. To pull off a successful retirement, Garcia suggests members of Gen X acknowledge their financial situations and make a plan.
“Gen Xers need to accept that they are falling behind on retirement readiness,” Garcia writes. “Retirement planning requires a good amount of discipline and dedication — not to mention many trade-offs. As Gen Xers enter their top earning years, there is no better time to begin planning for retirement than now.”
Originally published at www.debt.com on August 31, 2018.