Despite witnessing firsthand the anxiety and apprehension that many of their Baby Boomer parents are now enduring as they close in on retirement, the overwhelming majority of Gen-Xers are still not adequately preparing themselves for their own eventual retirement.
According to a new study released this week by retirement planning website eRollover.com and the Siena College Research Institute, 82% of Americans between the ages of 29 and 49 say they're way behind schedule when it comes to saving and planning for their retirements.
"This group admits having its head in the sand about planning for the future," eRollover.com CEO Tim Harrington, said in the report. "They’re struggling to make ends meet and they don’t know where to turn for retirement advice."
The study polled 1,006 Gen-Xers on their individual financial situation, savings, investments, retirement expectations and what they're doing -- or not doing -- to achieve their retirement goals.
Of those surveyed, only 41% said they've put aside money beyond what their employer may have contributed to a retirement plan and less than half of the respondents said they have a 401(k) account.
More troubling, particularly for a group of people that lived through both the dotcom and real estate busts, 71% expect that unless something drastic is done to overhaul Social Security, the system will likely be bankrupt within the next 20 to 25 years, making their individual retirement savings and planning all the more critical.
If that weren't depressing enough, the survey found that despite these concerns, 67% of Gen Xers are still counting on Social Security to account for at least a small portion of their retirement income when the time comes.
The combination of poor planning -- at least so far -- and their cynical expectations for Social Security benefits has 41% of this generation convinced that their standard of living in retirement will be worse than previous generations.
Fewer than three in 10 respondents said they had a very clear and organized retirement plan and 58% either "strongly" or "somewhat" agree that people with significant wealth should only be eligible to receive a reduced Social Security benefit based on their assets.
Perhaps most damning, only 15% of Gen-Xers said they had incomes that exceeded their current expenses and only 46% track their incomes and expenses on a monthly basis -- two red flags that make it clear that they're in desperate need of financial advisory services if they're ever to reach their retirement goals.
"At the same time, their goals for retirement are lofty," Harrington said. "Like the generation before them, they want to be able to relax, travel, engage in their life passions, move to warmer climates, and help their families."
"Despite tough economic times, and the current lack of preparation, hope is not lost," he added. "Those that are not confident and haven’t adequately prepared can catch up."