The Most Stressed-Out Generation is X
BOSTON ( MainStreet) The news has been saturated with reports of high unemployment, stagnant wages and worker dissatisfaction since the Great Recession. Even though the economic recovery has improved things overall, most demographics in the United States still seem to be suffering from considerable financial struggles and anxiety and none more than those in Generation X.
A report by the financial information and education think tank Financial Finesse found people from Generation X polled as having the most financial worries and suffering the most significant economic setbacks. Generation X which includes people 35 to 44 years-old lost nearly half its members' savings, or an average of $33,000 per person, after the economic collapse, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study .
Generation Xers are also the age group that has the most to lose as compared with baby boomers and millennials, as they are the most likely to be maintaining the delicate balance between saving for the future while trying to care for young children and make mortgage and student debt payments with more than 60% being married, owning homes and having underage children.
This profile fits George, a 36-year-old insurance industry worker from Ohio, to a T. A married homeowner and father to two young children, George can't contribute fully to his pension due to large student loan and mortgage payments. He lost nearly half his 401(k) in the economic meltdown and his wife, a teacher, had her retirement fund raided by the state.
"I am constantly worried ... because if I lose what I make I'm only a few months away from losing everything, so I am stuck," George says.
Almost half (47%) of Gen Xers polled didn't believe they would be able to achieve their future financial goals. This figure is up 3% from last year. Gen Xers also seemed to be the least likely to be on track for saving an adequate amount for retirement. Like George, many hadn't been able to match their savings to their employer's retirement plan.
According to the Financial Finesse report, Gen Xers did improve their finances in 2013 when compared with the previous year; but they still lagged when compared with other generations in regard to money management and retirement planning. Additionally, Gen Xers are in the precarious situation of reaching retirement age around the time Social Security trust funds are projected to run out. If the system isn't changed by then, Gen Xers might be the first generation to get less in entitlement benefits than they paid in taxes.
Millennials (those under 30) were found vulnerable to similar risks. Being younger, though, theoretically gives them the advantage of having more time to shore up their savings to compensate for a lack of better Social Security benefits. Most millennials polled did not show that they had thought much if at all about retirement planning, though, with 71% reporting that they hadn't run a retirement plan estimate.