Typical financial professionals who work with members of Generation X may be skipping over topics Gen Xers desperately want to talk about.
Analysts at the Insured Retirement Institute have revealed a possible Gen X advice gap in a new summary of results from a recent online survey. The sample included of 802 Gen X Americans. IRI defined “Generation X” to mean people who were ages 36 to 55 when they took the survey.
IRI sponsored the survey to find out how Gen Xers are handling retirement planning. The analysts who wrote the report summed up Gen Xers’ approach to retirement planning by stating, in the subtitle, “They’re (mostly) doing it wrong.”
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The analysts noted that only 20% of Gen Xers have talked to a financial advisor, that only one-third of Gen Xers have tried to calculate how much they need to have saved in order to retire, and that only 23% of the Gen Xers who have tried to save for retirement have more than $250,000 in retirement savings.
But the analysts also reported that about 58% of the Gen Xers are somewhat or very confident they will have enough cash to cover basic expenses in retirement.
The IRI analysts did not break most of their results down by income or asset level, but they did break results down by use, and lack of use, of a financial professional. The survey participants with financial professionals might be the ones who have more financial flexibility, overall.
About 82% of the Gen Xers with financial advisors said the advisors had discussed retirement planning, and 61% said the advisors had discussed investing.
Perhaps because of those retirement planning discussions, 87% of the Gen Xers with advisors said they were confident about having enough income to cover basic expenses in retirement.
But even the Gen Xers with advisors expressed grave doubts about their ability to handle other major financial challenges.
Here are three challenges that scare Gen Xers with advisors a lot more than the ability to cover basic post-retirement expenses.
1. Covering their own long-term care costs
Only 63% of the Gen Xers with advisors said they were somewhat or very confident about having enough money to pay their long-term care (LTC) bills.
Typical advisors had, apparently, not done much to help Gen Xer clients address that concern: Just 9% had talked about planning for cognitive decline. Only 29% had talked to the Gen Xer clients about any kind of insurance.
2. Meeting their parents’ LTC needs
About 53% of the Gen Xers with advisors said they were somewhat or very confident about being to help pay their parents’ LTC bills.
IRI did not ask Gen Xers how many had talked about that concern with their advisors.
3. Paying their children’s college bills
Many financial professionals and consumer finance experts say Gen Xers should put retirement planning first, and children’s college bills second.
Gen X parents, meanwhile, say the money to put their children through college has to come from somewhere.
Only 51% of the Gen Xers with advisors said they were somewhat or very confident that they will have enough money to cover their children’s higher education expenses.
IRI did not ask Gen Xers how many had talked about that concern with their advisors..
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