Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Generation X, persons born between the end of the baby boom in 1965 and the start of the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) in 1976, is now in middle age or nearly there and the older among them have retirement on the horizon, according to a study.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute noted that while Gen X is commonly termed the “baby bust” group, it actually is some 50 million strong, and thus is a major demographic force of its own.

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That generation is currently in their mid-30s through mid-40s, but they “have a way to go when it comes to saving for retirement, as half report being behind on retirement savings,” the study said.

“The average Gen Xer wants to retire by about age 62, but they doubt they will be able to retire until they are 67,” it said, adding that only a third consider themselves on track to achieve their retirement savings goals.

It found that 7 percent haven’t started at all and 11 percent don’t even have retirement savings goals. At the same time, only three in 10 are somewhat to very confident that Social Security will pay out all the benefits they will be eligible to receive when it comes time for them to claim those benefits. Further, they tend to have a limited understanding of how Social Security works, in particular the differences in benefits from beginning them at differing ages.

About two-thirds have defined contribution retirement programs such as 401(k)s or the TSP, but only one third have defined benefit annuities through their employer like the federal civil service benefit.

On the positive side, two-thirds are working full-time and about as many of their spouses are working, and their careers are generally stable–meaning they have ability to build up retirement savings. They are optimistic about their future finances and don’t feel stuck in their jobs. They also tend to be in good health and generally are not burdened with the need to take care of elderly parents, either physically or financially. About four-fifths further are homeowners–but nearly one-fifth owe more on their home than it is worth.