Forget millennials — the real financial time bomb in America is Gen X

My Comments: Which generation are you from? I’m in front of the baby boomers, of whom there are many millions. They surfaced following World War II. And fueled the growth of America and it’s influence across the world.

The millennials are essentially the baby boomers grandkids. That leaves Gen X as the children of the baby boomers. These children, Gen X, represent the next big demographic wave of people who will be looking to retire in the next 20 – 30 years.

They will be the next big wave of people dependent on Social Security to keep them off the streets and properly fed. Paying for healthcare is another pending crisis. Where is the money going to come from to keep them alive?

For better or worse, I’ll be long gone. Anything I say and do now will be forgotten. Maybe our two children, who are both Gen X, will note what I say here and pay attention. Or not.

by Tanza Loudenback \ April 20, 2019

Retirement isn’t looking rosy for Gen X.

The cohort closest to retirement age behind baby boomers is wholly unprepared to leave work one day, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey.

Of the 4,400 Americans polled, 1,131 identified as Gen Xers, defined as ages 38 to 53 (237 respondents did not select a generation). The margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point.

About half of Gen X respondents said they expected to retire before age 75 — 23% said between 56 and 65, and 28% said between 66 and 75. Meanwhile, 10% of the Gen Xers said they don’t expect to retire at all — the highest share of any generation — and 19% didn’t have an opinion.

The full retirement age for Gen Xers is 67, at which point they can begin to claim Social Security benefits. Whether they decide to retire then or not, delaying Social Security benefits to age 70 will increase the eventual payout by 8% each year it’s delayed. But Social Security isn’t enough to cover expenses for most retirees. Other income from savings and investments is usually necessary.

And yet, 47% of the Gen Xers said they had no money saved in a retirement account, almost equal to the share of those who said they do. About 48% of the savers have under $50,000, the survey found, and one-quarter have more than $100,000.

Gen Xers may find themselves playing catch up in order to retire. Experts agree that one of the easiest and most beneficial strategies for saving for retirement is maxing out a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) — the tax advantages are often unparalleled. In 2019, you can elect to contribute a percentage or dollar amount of your pretax salary to a 401(k) if your company offers it, up to $19,000, or $25,000 if you’re over 50.

As far as investments go, only 17% of Gen X respondents said they have a brokerage account, and most have under $50,000 in that account as well.

These findings underscore a recent MetLife report, which found that 55% of Gen Xers said they were feeling either significantly or somewhat behind on their retirement-savings timeline and that 48% of Gen Xers were living paycheck to paycheck.

The Morning Consult and Business Insider survey also asked what respondents would do with an extra $1,000, and Gen Xers’ priorities are clear. They were the least likely generation to put the hypothetical cash toward savings or investments. Most said they would pay outstanding bills (22%) or pay down debt (28%).

While the type of debt wasn’t specified, Gen Xers were the most likely generation to report having credit-card debt; about one-quarter are currently paying off student loans; and 70% have a mortgage, the largest share of any generation.