NU Online News Service, Feb. 24, 2004, 5:12 p.m. EST – The recent stock market slump may have scared some members of Generation X away from saving for retirement.[@@]

Only 59% of GenXers who work at small businesses were participating in retirement plans in the summer of 2003, down from 69% a year earlier, according to results of a survey released by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, Los Angeles.

Over the same period, the retirement plan participation rate for the baby boomers in the survey sample increased to 77%, from 71%.

Researchers at Harris Interactive Inc., Rochester, N.Y., interviewed 600 full-time small business employees for Transamerica in late August and early September. The employees all worked at businesses with 10 to 500 employees.

Executives at Transamerica, a unit of AEGON N.V., The Hague, Netherlands, note that the typical GenXer began saving for retirement sooner than the typical boomer did.

About 70% of GenXers say they began saving for retirement by age 25. Only 30% of boomers say they began saving for retirement that early.

But 73% of GenXers now agree that they don’t know as much as they should about investing, and 74% want more information about reaching their retirement goals, according to Transamerica executives.

Although GenXers are worried about retirement planning, 54% expect their personal financial situation to improve this year. Only 45% of boomers expect their personal financial situation to improve this year.