Is Generation X Ready to Retire?

Why It Matters:

  • Many Gen Xers are dually tasked with raising children and caring for aging parents.
  • With so many responsibilities, it’s easy for Gen Xers to overlook their own financial well-being.
  • Thankfully, it’s not too late to take proactive steps toward a healthy retirement.

Ryan Besch tkc.profilePicture Written by: Ryan Besch | Transamerica
03/31/2017

3 Min readClock Icon

If you’re saving for retirement and are part of Generation X, chances are you’re feeling financially frazzled. 

It’s no secret that Generation Xers, those born between 1965-1978, are known as the neglected middle child of demographics right now. Caught between two very different groups (Millennials and Baby Boomers), Generation X is in the proverbial sandwich years. 

It’s a delicate balancing act of work, raising kids, and possibly caring for aging parents. It’s easy to overlook goals when taking care of everyone else. At the end of the day, what about members of Generation X and their financial well-being?

The facts

The 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey offers insight into generations of American workers and how they view retirement.

It finds 83% of Generation X workers believe they’ll have a harder time achieving financial security than their parents’ generation. While they may understand the uphill battle that is saving for the future, it can still be difficult to take action. Given that they’re so busy juggling day-to-day priorities, they’re at risk of not giving enough time and attention to planning for their long-term retirement security.

What does a typical Generation X retirement picture look like? Blurry.

Many are focused on saving but they probably aren’t saving enough. Among those who are offered a 401(k) or similar plan, only 76% are participating and they are contributing 7% (median) of their annual pay, the survey found.

Thirty percent have taken a loan or early withdrawal from their accounts. Total household retirement savings among all workers in their 40s is just $69,000 (estimated median). Fifty-five percent expect to work past age 65 or do not plan to retire at all.

How to improve

If you’re part of Generation X, now is a crucial time to get back on the savings track in preparation for future retirement. A good starting point is evaluating your current financial situation – create a personal balance sheet of assets and liabilities; in other words, savings and debts.

Next use an online retirement calculator to quickly determine your “retirement outlook” – and how much more you may need to save to improve it. Then calculate the difference between your current retirement savings and the anticipated level of savings needed.

You may find a projected savings shortfall, but now you’ll will have a clearer picture where you stand. From there, it’s time to set forth goals and a plan toward achieving them. This will require financial prioritizing, but it can be done.

Need help?

A few final words: Generation Xers still have at least 10 more years to save and prepare for retirement. But don’t procrastinate. The longer you wait, the less time there is to plan and save. If this seems overwhelming, or a helping hand is needed, consider reaching out to a financial professional. You still have time on your side and are encouraged to use that time wisely – even as you juggle daily realities – to secure a healthy retirement. 

Things to Consider:

  • While 55% of Gen X workers expect to work past age 65, there’s still time to form a confident retirement plan.
  • To begin, create a balance sheet of your personal assets and liabilities.
  • To a get a clear outlook of your financial future, use our free retirement calculator.
  • If you become overwhelmed, reach out to a financial professional to get back on track.

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