Gen Xers -- as well as baby boomers -- are pessimistic about achieving retirement. Are they a lost cause or a prime opportunity?

It seems both baby boomers and Gen Xers have lost all confidence in traditional retirement — and that may have something to do with a lack of planning by both generations. 

That’s according to a recent study by Allianz, titled “Generations Apart,” which states that the vast majority of both generations view retirement as a “romantic fantasy of the past.” In fact, more than eight in 10 (84 percent) from both generations said they feel that a retirement starting at age 65 spent “doing exactly what you want” is now unrealistic. And maybe moreso for Gen Xers.

The study found that Gen X respondents were much more hopeless about their ability to achieve retirement goals and about their overall financial situation than were their boomer counterparts. More than two thirds (67 percent) of Gen Xers agreed with the idea that supposed targets for how much you need to retire are way out of reach versus less than half of boomers (49 percent).

Furthermore, more Gen Xers feel bogged down with uncertainty when planning for retirement (64 percent) believing it is “useless to plan for retirement when everything is so uncertain” (44 percent versus 31 percent of boomers), and feeling that they will “never have enough money to stop working” (68 percent versus 43 percent of boomers).

“It’s been widely reported that baby boomers are worried about their retirement, but the financial planning and retirement concerns of Generation X have gotten less attention,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights. “While our study confirms that many boomers still lack confidence about their future, it reveals alarming realities about the significant angst and pessimism Gen X feels regarding the current and future state of their finances. They’re the next generation that’s quickly approaching retirement and their hands-off approach to planning and preparation is alarming.” 

When it comes to jobs, money and retirement, even baby boomers agreed that Generation X has it much tougher in the following areas:

• Planning for retirement – 86 percent of Gen Xers and 65 percent of boomers agreed Gen X has it tougher
• Saving money – 89 percent of Gen Xers and 68 percent of boomers agreed
• Keeping a job – 85 percent of Gen Xers and 69 percent of boomers agreed 
• Staying out of debt – 90 percent of Gen Xers and 72 percent of boomers agreed
• Getting a job – 85 percent of Gen Xers and 73 percent of boomers agreed

Some may see Gen X as a lost generation, but agents and advisors would be wise to view it as an opportunity; a demographic made of millions, all needing financial advice and assurance that retirement may not be just “a romantic fantasy of the past” but a realistic goal for the future.