Study Shows Gen-Xers Fear Bleak Retirement

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Majority Not Saving, Only 29% Have a Plan, 34% Admit Failing to Prepare, Scant 11% Very Confident Lifestyle Will Be Retained In Retirement

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Planning for retirement has become a social taboo that many avoid discussing.

An overwhelming majority of Americans aged 29 to 49 are worried about their prospects for retirement, yet they have not begun to save or plan for it, according to a nationwide special new study released today by retirement planning website and conducted by the independent Siena College Research Institute (SRI).

Only about one in ten so-called Generation-Xers is very confident of being be able to maintain their current standard of living when they retire, and 82 percent cannot say they are well along their path to planning a successful retirement, the study revealed.

“This group admits having its head in the sand about planning for the future,” said Tim Harrington, CEO of, an independent, online consumer destination providing unbiased retirement planning information. “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. Our objective is to give our members the tools they need to sweep away the sand, and take control now.”

71% of GenX respondents believe Social Security Bankruptcy Likely

The eRollover Study revealed that over the past six months, just 41 percent put aside any money beyond what their employer may have contributed to a retirement plan, fewer than half have a 401(k), and only 19 percent meet regularly with a financial advisor. Further, seventy–one percent agree (38 percent strongly) that unless something is done, Social Security could be bankrupt within the next 20 to 25 years.

“At the same time, their goals for retirement are lofty,” added Harrington. “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. Those that are not confident and haven’t adequately prepared can catch up. This data clearly demonstrates the importance of the resources provides.”

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

41% Believe Standard of Living in Retirement Worse than Predecessors

“With only one of every seven Gen-Xers currently having an income that exceeds their expenses, and over four of every ten saying they are worse off financially today than they were a year ago, no wonder they are worried about retirement,” said Dr. Don Levy, SRI’s Director. “Forty-one percent of these Americans predict that their quality of life in retirement will be worse than that of those that retired 15 to 20 years ago.”
While 71 percent believe Social Security must be fixed to survive, and 67 percent of these Americans plan to count on those payments as at least a minor source of retirement income, Gen-Xers are divided on what should be done.

Other highlights of the study include:

  •     Even with dreams and plans for retirement, fewer than three in ten have a very clear and organized plan to save for retirement, and 41 percent believe their quality of life when retired will be worse than those who retired 15 or 20 years ago.
  •     On Social Security, 58 percent 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, however, 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 percent.
  •     Despite their skepticism about Social Security, 27 percent expect it to be a major source of their retirement income and 40 percent expect it to be a minor source of income.
  •     Among the study group as a whole, only 15 percent had incomes greater than expenses, 46 percent track their incomes and expenses monthly, 50 percent have a savings account with a balance of at least $1000, 31 percent have at least six months of expenses saved, 48 percent have a 401K and 19 percent have a financial advisor.
  •     Among those with incomes above $100,000, however, 29 percent had incomes greater than expenses, 52 percent budget more frequently than lower earners, 82 percent have a savings account with a balance of at least $1000, 59 percent have at least six months of expenses saved, 85 percent have a 401K and 38 percent have a financial advisor.

More detailed results of the study can be viewed at

About eRollover

eRollover is the premiere online consumer destination for retirement planning. Serving as a consumer advocate for people to take control of their retirement, eRollover has created a unique social media community for members to manage, connect, learn, and share retirement planning resources and information with others. An Education Center provides independent, unbiased content previously not generally available to the general public. Analytical tools allow members to calculate how and when to retire. A Rollover Center enables people to easily complete an IRA or 401k rollover. And a Financial Advisor Center enables members be matched with a financial advisor using algorithms and zip codes. eRollover is headquartered in Atlanta. Membership is free. For more information, go to

About Siena Research Institute

Founded in 1980 at Siena College in New York's Capital District, the Siena Research Institute (SRI) conducts regional, statewide and national surveys on business, economic, political, voter, social, academic and historical issues. The surveys include both expert and public opinion polls. SRI survey results have been published in major regional and national newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as in scholarly journals, books, and an encyclopedia. Survey results are regularly featured on local and network television and radio.

SRI subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, go to

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David Andersen

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