Baby boomers are not as prepared as they should be for retirement, but it is Generation X that faces the biggest financial threat in the future, according to a study by Financial Finesse.
The study looked at the financial strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the Millennials, Generation X, late baby boomers and early baby boomers based on 23,749 employees who answered a financial wellness assessment.
Generation X made improvements to their finances in 2013, but they are behind other generations when it comes to cash management and retirement planning. They are also more vulnerable because they are set to retire just as Social Security is expected to run out of money and they don’t have as much time as the younger generations to make up what they will lose from that key retirement program within their 401(k) or IRA, Financial Finesse found.
They also have the most current financial pressures and the hardest time saving for the future because of competing priorities that most Millennials haven’t faced yet and baby boomers have already overcome, according to the study.
Millennials are faring better than Generation X when it comes to day-to-day financial management, the study found, but they are not engaged at all in retirement planning. Seventy-one percent reported they have not run a retirement plan estimate. They also tend to approach their finances form a short-term perspective.
Financial Finesse pointed out that Millennials need to take a more long-term look at their finances because they won’t have defined benefit pension plans or Social Security available to them when they retire.
Baby boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 are not as prepared for retirement as they should be. Fifty-one percent of employees in this age range report they have not run a retirement plan estimate and only 22 percent report having long-term care insurance in place, despite the fact that the average cost of nursing home care is more than $50,000 a year.
This could have a significant impact on the economy, as families or the government are forced to support those with inadequate savings. Employers will bear the brunt of costs as well as more people decide to delay retirement because they just don’t have the money to do so.
Greg Ward, director of Financial Finesse's Think Tank, said that each generation faces such unique financial vulnerabilities and issues that the traditional model of providing standardized retirement planning and benefits information doesn't resonate with employees any longer.
Different messages must be applied to different generations.