Gen X faces retirement perfect storm

2008

Faced with having to support ageing baby-boomers and debt-laden children, and no longer able to rely on the state to support them in their old age, fewer than a third of America's Generation X believe they will ever be able to retire and stop working completely.

The gloomy prediction of Generation X, or the generation aged 27-42, facing a retirement "perfect storm" has been made in a poll of more than 1,000 workers by Scottrade and BetterInvesting.

It also found that more than four out of 10 Generation X workers believed they would never be able to retire fully, while more than a quarter were unsure about their ability ever to retire.

In fact, Generation X was now earning the nickname the "baby bust" generation because of the grim financial responsibility it faced in keeping afloat both a larger population of ageing parents and the debt-laden Generation Y coming up behind.

The survey found the vast majority were therefore deeply worried about whether they would ever be able to put enough aside to fund their old age properly.

Four out of 10 said they were saving more today because they worried they would not be able to count on social security, even though nine out of 10 felt that they would deserve state support by the time they retired.

Worryingly, a quarter were unsure how much they needed to have saved by the time they retired.

And four out of 10 admitted they had saved less than $25,000 for retirement, while a fifth had no idea how much they had already put away and a similar proportion had not even started saving yet.

Yet at the same time more than a third had high expectations and wanted, perhaps unrealistically, to have $1m to more than $5m saved by the time they retired.

"The study shows Gen Xers are the most stressed group financially right now," said Chris X Moloney, Scottrade's chief marketing officer.

"They are earning money and paying into social security and yet they fear they may never see the payback. They feel they deserve it, but it looks like a financial black hole to them right now," he added.

"Gen X is in the middle of a retirement 'perfect storm' – very high expectations, low retirement savings and massive concern about the future of social security," Moloney added.

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