Report: Gen Xers aren’t close to being ready for retirement … or, why you need to be nicer to your kids

Prudential Financial survey finds more than half of those born between 1965-80 have $10,000 or less saved for retirement

Here’s the good news if you’re one of the 65 million members of Generation X (born between 1965-80): You’re entering the final stages of your prime working years.

Here’s the bad news: It’s almost a certainty that you don’t have enough money for retirement.

All those “boomer” jokes — they just may be coming around to bite you.

Don’t believe it? Check out some of the key findings of Gen X: Retirement Revised, the latest Pulse research survey from Prudential Financial. Among the takeaways:

  • Nest egg empty: Up to 30 million (46%) Gen Xers do not think they will have enough saved to live comfortably in retirement. Those fears reflect Gen X’s savings reality: 35% have less than $10,000 saved, and 18% — reflecting up to 12 million Gen Xers — have nothing saved.
  • Delaying retirement: Almost half (47%) of all working Gen Xers expect to retire later than anticipated. Forty percent plan to work part-time after retirement.
  • Won’t bet the house: Only 16% of Gen Xers plan to use their home value to help fund retirement. Most of Gen X are not planning to follow in the footsteps of baby boomers, who are tapping into record home equity and currently make up the highest share of buyers and sellers nationwide.
  • Not flying south: Approximately two-thirds (65%) of Gen Xers plan to stay in one city or town in retirement. Only 15% plan to split time between locations.
  • Disrupting the “Great Wealth Transfer”: A mere 12% say an inheritance will be a source of retirement income, even as boomers are expected to pass down over $70 trillion. What’s more, 84% of Gen Xers are not planning to leave an inheritance.

“Gen X faces one of the most complex landscapes for retirement readiness in decades, including the decline of defined benefit pension plans, which supported prior generations’ retirement, as well as significant uncertainty about the economy and long-term Social Security benefits,” Prudential Vice Chair Rob Falzon said.

“This data underscores how important it is for Gen X to adopt a new set of retirement strategies designed to protect and grow their savings, and, when possible, translate their assets into reliable sources of future income.”

Don’t worry — it only gets worse.

Here are some additional retirement obstacles identified in the survey that Gen X is facing that previous generations did not.

  • Social Security … not so secure: Despite projections that Social Security trust fund reserves could be depleted by 2033, 58% of Gen X say they will rely on it as a source of retirement income.
  • Pensions in the past: Only 20% of Gen X plan to use pensions as a source of retirement income, and only 11% will mostly rely on a pension. This reflects the known steep decline in the number of pension plans, which fell by 73% between 1985 and 2020.
  • Saving without a plan: Almost half (48%) are saving, but don’t have a plan.
  • Inflation: More than two-thirds (68%) of working Gen Xers are concerned about reaching their savings goals due to inflation, and nearly three-quarters (72%) of all Gen Xers say the current environment makes it hard to plan beyond day-to-day.
  • Work worries: While an economic downturn still ranks as the biggest threat to job security among working Gen Xers (35%), fears of being replaced by younger (29%) and less expensive (26%) workers are close behind.
  • Critical expenses overlooked: Nearly two-fifths (38%) are not factoring in health care costs, and three-quarters (75%) are not accounting for assisted living expenses.

“Gen Xers are contemplating significantly different approaches than prior generations to achieve retirement security,” Dylan Tyson, president, Prudential Retirement Strategies, said.

“Together, we must find ways to incorporate the fundamental best practices of traditional pensions into today’s defined contribution-based retirement system. Strategies like protected accumulation and protected income planning are required to help Gen Xers avoid the potential hazards of longevity risk and market volatility on otherwise well-balanced financial plans.”

Oh, one more thing: Start being nicer to your kids.