Gen X More Worried About Retirement than Boomers

Members of the younger generation express more concern about retirement specifics, compared to their elder counterparts.

When it comes to retirement preparation and investing, members of Generation X (ages 35 to 49) tend to be more worried than Baby Boomers (ages 50 to 68), a PNC Financial Services Group survey finds.

Three quarters (73%) of Generation Xers agreed with the statement “I worry that my savings may not hold out for as long as I live,” as opposed to 55% of Boomers. Eighty-four percent of all survey respondents fear that health care costs will be too expensive in retirement, topping the list of all concerns among respondents. Generation X is slightly more worried than boomers (89% vs. 83%).

The survey showed that while only one in seven (15%) survey respondents are still coping with the effects of the Great Recession, seven out of 10 changed their financial behavior as a result. A majority of Gen X (51%) say they are saving more for retirement, compared to 37% of Boomers.

In PNC’s survey of 1,017 adults with investable assets of at least $50,000, 65% of Generation Xers responded “I believe I am solely responsible for my retirement (no Social Security, employer pension, inheritance, etc.),” versus 45% of Boomers. Generation X expects to need an average of $1.5 million for retirement while Baby Boomers’ average expectation is slightly lower at $1.3 million. However three-quarters (74%) of Boomers have yet to reach the $1 million milestone.

Still, respondents expect Social Security to be there for them. Ninety-four percent of all survey respondents agreed “I have earned my Social Security through paying Social Security taxes and therefore it is owed to me.”

The survey also found nearly all (95%) respondents said “it (is/was) very important to me to be able to retire when I (choose/chose) to do so.” Generation Xers expect to retire younger at an average age of 63.6 years while Boomers expect to retire, on average, at 65.5.

Many of those surveyed know that their 401(k) or comparable plans will not be enough to get them over their retirement savings goal. On average, respondents invest 11% in their employers’ retirement plan and another 9% (on average) specifically for retirement outside of these plans. Of those who participate in a 401 (k) program at work, seven in 10 are offered an employer match, and nine in 10 say that an employer match is important to overall retirement savings.

The “Perspectives of Retirement Survey” was conducted online within the United States February 13 through 25, 2015, among a nationwide cross section of 1,017 adults ages 35 to 75, with total investable assets of at least $100,000 if age 45 or older, and at least $50,000 if ages 35 to 44.