Generation X — the generation that was raised on video games, MTV and “Seinfeld,” that brought us the Brat Pack, Nirvana, Jon Stewart and Google — has entered its peak earning and investing years.
Sandwiched between two giant demographic cohorts, the baby boomers and the millennials, the smaller Generation X is about to enter its 50s. Time to get serious: Kids are headed to college and those 401(k)s need feeding.
Gen Xers are currently age 35-49. They have reached the “pre-retiree” stage, often called the “Retirement Red Zone,” when they become ideal clients for financial advisors.
What’s more, according to Scottrade’s 2016 American Investor Study (which surveyed 1,001 financial decision makers across the U.S. who had at least $2,500 invested with a full service brokerage, online broker or independent advisor), 83% of Gen Xers say they are likely to seek professional advice about planning for retirement.
Although investors in general are confident that they will have enough money when they retire, Gen X is far less confident than other generations, the Scottrade Investor Survey found.
Only one in five (19%) of Gen Xers are extremely confident that they’ll be able to made ends meet, compared to roughly one in three baby boomers (31%) and about half of millennials (48%) and seniors (51%). More than half of Gen Xers — 56%—plan to work part-time in retirement, and 32% say they want to work part-time in retirement.
Why are they so unsure? Theirs is a generation of uncertainty and instability.
It was for Gen Xers that the term “latchkey children” was invented, many because their working parents left them alone until they could get home from work. In addition to witnessing the inspiring birth of personal computing and the internet, they’ve endured several recessions and market crashes.
They were in their formative years when speculation about Y2K became public chatter. And then there was the Great Recession, which destroyed personal wealth and set back many Gen Xers’ careers.