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Fridays (with Benefits) - 5/31/19 - Is Gen X really ready for retirement?

Living Well

It wasn't THAT long ago that the term "millennials" was only used to describe people panicking about Y2K. Then, Generation X was leading the way toward changing the retirement landscape. They were the "MTV generation." They were the first generation to grow up with two-income families as the norm. And because of that, they were the ones that shifted the focus toward achieving true work-life balance before retiring young.

Well, even the best laid plans can go south if you're not careful. While Gen X is largely known for its desire for independence and autonomy, maybe the group (as a whole) should have considered getting a little help along the way.

As we see in this week's headline from Plansponsor, the generation that brought hip hop to the mainstream isn't quite as prepared for retirement as probably should be.

Generation X Has a Big Need for Retirement Readiness Improvement - Rebecca Moore, Plansponsor

As someone born in the final year of Generation X, I wasn't sure this article really applied to me. That is, until I read the following:

The Protected Lifetime Income Index Study from the Alliance for Lifetime Income (ALI) shows 65% of Americans younger than 55 are concerned that their retirement income will not last through their lifetime.

So, based on this, it looks like the debt:income ratio shifted toward the tail end of the generation, but the older members of Gen X were well-situated for retirement success, right?

...while 45% of those older than 55 are similarly concerned.

Okay, maybe this is a bigger issue than first believed. The report in question focused on people 45 and up, who have not yet retired, comparing variables like asset ownership to help determine where attitudes about retirement security began to shift.

Based on this, it appears that those with $75,000+ in assets (including homes) tended to be better savers and planners than those who hadn't. Hardly surprising, but when you consider nearly half of surveyed participants fell short of this total, the increased concern about retirement becomes more understandable.

Even more alarming is that more than 75% of participants don't see much change on the horizon, expecting to exhaust their retirement savings well before they should.

Another interesting note about Gen X? They are much less likely to have pensions than the Baby Boomers that preceded them, with more of them funding their retirements on their own, while leaning more heavily on Social Security benefits.

The article definitely opened the eyes of this (young-ish) Gen X'er, but offers hope by showing how better debt management can help turn the tide on savings before it's too late. We're not big on scare tactics around here, but any motivation that leads to better saving habits is a good thing in our eyes.


Fridays (with Benefits) is a weekly roundup of the latest headlines about employee benefits -- from FSAs to fitness programs and everything workplace wellness. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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