Financially Speaking, Reality Bites For Generation X

Generation X, when posed questions about their potential financial condition as they progress toward retirement age,  painted a desolate picture according to a recent study.  Elwood Watson, PhD, details the conclusions of the study on

Earlier this year, the insurance company Allianz Life released the findings of the Generations Apart Study that examined the financial outlook and attitude of 1000 Generation Xers (1965 to 1979) and 1000 baby boomers (1946 to 1964).

At the time, USA Today cited some specifics of the aforementioned report released by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies that found 84 percent of people in both age demographics believe that stopping work at age 65 and retreating to a life of leisure was not possible. Sixty-seven percent of Gen Xers and 49 percent of Baby Boomers feel that the current financial targets for retirements are unrealistic. Moreover, 36 percent of boomers say they will “figure things out” when they get there as opposed of 46 percent of Generation Xers.

It is instructive that 84% of both Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers believe that the conventional idea of ‘retirement’ would not be possible at age 65.  Don’t forget that Baby Boomers started reaching retirement age in 2011 and will continue to do so for another decade at the rate of 10,000 a day!  The fact that more than 8 out of 10 of them believe that they will not be able to retire by age 65 is simply staggering, and they are light years ahead of Millennials and Generation X’ers, financially speaking.

Other findings as they related to Gen Xers were:

64 percent of Gen Xers admitted feeling “bogged down” with uncertainty when planning for retirement.
89 percent argued that it was difficult to store away money for retirement.
85 percent stated that it was difficult to keep a job in this tenuous economy.
90 percent argued that it was difficult to avoid falling into debt.
85 percent believed that it was difficult to get a job after losing a previous one.
72 percent believe that it is impossible to gauge how much they will need to be secure for retirement.
52 percent argued that putting away money for the future was not an option at the current moment.

These results were intriguing as well as somewhat disheartening. Nonetheless, such news should not be all that surprising. The fact is that Generation Xers have experienced sporadic and dramatic downturns in more than a few fickle economies, divorced parents and, for many, divorce and single parenthood situations themselves. Enduring uncertainty about one’s financial future is just one of a long litany of adverse experiences that have been a part of the lives of more than a few of the 46 million Americans who fall into this age demographic. Adversity has been a distinctive part of life.

Despite such a less than promising outlook, many Generation Xers polled believed that, whatever roadblocks they encountered along the journey, things will eventually work out for them when all is said and done. It is this combination of understandable cynicism coupled with an unprecedented level of tenacity and fortitude to successfully tackle the many recurring obstacles that have presented themselves in our lives that have made more than few Gen Xers persevere and keep moving forward in spite of whatever curveballs are thrown their way.

I stopped reading after his assertion that Generation X’ers have an “unprecedented level of tenacity and fortitude.”  Generation X grew up with video games and color television.  Three generations prior, people grew up without electricity.  Let’s keep things in perspective.

What speaks volumes about our nations economy over the past decade are results of the survey.

85 percent stated that it was difficult to keep a job in this tenuous economy.

Most of us know this is the case, no matter what the government reports say.

85 percent believed that it was difficult to get a job after losing a previous one.

Good news!  You’ll find lots of part-time jobs.  Maybe two or three of those will make up for the job you lost.

89 percent argued that it was difficult to store away money for retirement. 

A few thousand dollars, just won’t cut it as a retirement cushion.

90 percent argued that it was difficult to avoid falling into debt.

Generation X has weathered a few major financial storms, but relying on credit to survive is a massive problem for them.

Those numbers can not be explained away as an anomaly.  When 90% of a generational cohort deals with real financial stress, we can all agree that ‘the struggle’ is too real.  They have been ripped off by Social Security throughout their working life.  Financially speaking, reality bites for Generation X.

For millions of younger members of Generation X, opting out of Social Security, taking their money back and aggressively paying down debt or saving toward their retirement may save their financial future.  As politicians continue discuss moving the retirement age toward 70, Generation X is guaranteed to work longer than previous generations did.  They will never earn back the money they paid in to Social Security.  They will not earn more than 77% of what Baby Boomers make today.  Change won’t happen until they get angry, and it’s about time that they did.

-R.J. Renza, Jr.

Please take a moment and sign the National Petition to Opt-Out of Social Security. The more signatures we gather, the more pressure we place on Congress and our political leaders.

August marked the release of my first e-book “How Are You Not Angry Yet: How Social Security is Destroying the Futures, Finances and Hopes of Generations X,Y and Z and How We Can Put and End to it.”  “Angry Yet” breaks down the complex topic of Social Security into a way that most Americans can easily understand and find entertaining and is available on Amazon right here.

I was recently mentioned by my favorite economic blogger Michael Shedlock in his post “Question To Millennials: Why Are You Not Mad As Hell Yet?”

I also appeared on The Debt Dialogues, the weekly podcast of “RooseveltCare” author Don Watkins:

Check out my video of how I celebrated Social Security’s 80th Birthday and What Social Security Does To Kids.


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