Gen X Most Financially Stressed, According to Scottrade

The number of Generation Xers (ages 27 to 42) who are unprepared for retirement is dramatically on the rise, according to a study commissioned by Scottrade.

Gen Xers are also taking many steps to help ease their financial stress—including paying more attention to fees from brokers and investment firms (cited by one-third of respondents).

In a press release, Scottrade said more than half (52%) of Gen Xers currently have saved less than $25,000 for retirement—a significant change from 2008, when 40% reported being below the $25,000 mark. Almost two-thirds of Gen Xers (63%) saw the value of their retirement accounts decrease last year, and more Gen Xers (15%) had to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts than any other non-retired generation.

Scottrade said that of all the generations, Gen X is the most worried that Social Security will run out (62%). The dual stresses of smaller savings and lack of confidence in Social Security are drivers of Gen X’s top financial concern: not having enough money for retirement (64%).

According to the press release, Gen X is the most financially stressed generation for the second year in a row. Given a list of 18 general financial concerns, Gen X, more than any other generation, is “extremely” or “very” concerned about the following issues:

  • paying for unexpected, major expenses (61%)
  • managing day-to-day expenses (60%)
  • having too much debt (57%)
  • paying off credit card balances (52%)
  • having no/reduced income due to job loss (52%).

However, the survey found Gen X is also the most proactive generation, with 98% taking actions to offset financial stresses, including:

  • comparing prices to find the best deal (69%)
  • using coupons (66%)
  • cutting back on entertainment (65%)
  • paying down debts (57%)
  • reducing credit card spending (55%)
  • cutting back on travel/vacations (46%)
  • paying closer attention to the fees many brokers and investment firms charge for their services (33%)
  • cutting or eliminating services such as cable TV (30%).

The 2009 American Retirement Study by Scottrade polled 1,000 Americans 18 years of age or older using Synovate’s national online omnibus survey, eNation, in January.