Gen-Xers Fear Bleak Retirement

A nationwide survey found that although the majority of Americans ages 29 to 49 worry about their retirement prospects, many have not yet begun to save or plan for it.

Only about one in ten (11%) respondents reported being very confident in their ability to maintain their current standard of living once they retire retirement, and 82% cannot say they are well along their path to planning a successful retirement. Only 29% claimed to have a plan, while 34% admitted that they have failed to prepare for retirement.

Other findings of the eRollover study include:

  • More than 40% report being worse off financially today than they were a year ago
  • Forty-one percent predict that their quality of life in retirement will be worse than that of those that retired 15 to 20 years ago
  • Seventy-one percent agree that unless something is done, Social Security could be bankrupt within the next 20 to 25 years, but 67% expect it to be a source of their retirement income
  • One of every seven (15%) Gen-Xers currently have an income that exceeds their expenses
  • Over the past six months, 41% put aside money beyond what their employer may have contributed to a retirement plan
  • Forty-eight percent have a 401(k), and 19% meet regularly with a financial adviser
  • Forty-six percent track their incomes and expenses monthly, 50% have a savings account with a balance of at least $1000, and 31% have at least six months of expenses saved

“This group admits having its head in the sand about planning for the future,” said Tim Harrington, CEO of “They’re struggling to make ends meet and they don’t know where to turn for retirement advice. Planning for retirement has become a social taboo that many avoid discussing.”

Other key findings include:

  • On Social Security, 58% either strongly or somewhat agree that those who retire with significant wealth should have a reduced Social Security benefit based on their assets.
  • Sixty percent disagree with the idea of raising the retirement age to 70, and a plurality favor some form of privatization and increasing the payroll deduction to 14.4%.
  • Among those with incomes above $100,000, 29% had incomes greater than expenses, 52% budget more frequently than lower earners, 82% have a savings account with a balance of at least $1000, 59% have at least six months of expenses saved, 85% have a 401K and 38% have a financial adviser.

The study was conducted for by the Siena College Research Institute, and polled a representative sample of 1006 U.S. residents between the ages of 29 and 49 about their financial situation, savings, investments, retirement expectations, and plans to achieve their goals. More detailed results of the study can be viewed here.