Generation X isn’t doing well at this preparing for retirement thing.
Posted On November 2, 2015
Forbes recently cited several surveys and polls that found Gen-Xers falling behind with or completely ignoring their financial futures.
A Harris poll commissioned by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 25 percent of the Gen-Xers it surveyed had no sources of information for retirement and 45 percent didn’t even want to think about it.
Forty-six percent of the Gen-Xers surveyed by Allianz Life in May were essentially playing it by ear until they hit retirement age.
A Northwestern Mutual report found that 82 percent of Gen-Xers don’t believe they’ll be able to retire comfortably and 18 percent don’t believe they’ll be able to retire at all.
Why? Thirty-seven percent of those Gen-Xers polled in the report said they’d done nothing to prepare for their financial future.
Are we Gen-Xers in denial? Or just dense?
Neither, actually. Generation X was hammered by the Great Recession of 2008-09 with its layoffs and nose-diving home values. According to the Allianz Life survey, they’re also carrying far more debt than their Baby Boomer predecessors – 60 percent more mortgage debt and 82 percent more credit card and student loan debt.
Some are also facing, or expecting to soon face, care-giving costs for their parents.
These immediate needs – and not the somewhat self-serving assertion that Gen-X gets less media attention than millennials or the Baby Boomers – are what’s deep-sixing so many Gen-X retirement portfolios. When there are still student loans to pay off along with mortgages, credit card bills and possibly children heading off for college, savings falls way down the list of priorities.
But while retirement may not be the most important thing for many Gen-Xers right now, it’s more important than they seem to think. Forbes offers some common-sense advice – figure out how much you’ll need, take greater advantage of 401(k)s and seek the advice of a financial planner.
There’s also one very specific tip for those Gen-Xers nearing 50: Take advantage of the government’s “catch-up” rules that allow people 50 and older to save more for retirement under a tax umbrella than their younger counterparts.
While the present may be taking precedence for many Gen-Xers, the future isn’t far away.