Consumers in the 38-to-53 age group are an angst-ridden generation.

Fifty-one percent of Gen Xers worry about their retirement security, compared with 34% of baby boomers, and 45% are concerned about becoming disabled, versus 23% of boomers, according to a new study from research organization LIMRA.

Some of Gen Xers’ anxiety about their retirement years may owe to the fact that many do not have access to a defined benefit plan. LIMRA found that two-thirds of these consumers will have to create retirement income through their savings.

Becoming disabled or incurring big medical or long-term care expenses could seriously erode their efforts to save for retirement.

In contrast, about half of boomers receive a guaranteed income stream through a pension.

These findings point to a big role financial advisors can play in the lives of Gen Xers by providing guidance on the most effective strategies to maximize retirement savings.

A study earlier this year revealed that slightly more than half of Gen Xers did not have a financial advisor.

Another study showed that financial professionals who do work with Gen Xers may be failing to address the topics of most concern to these clients.

LIMRA said its Secure Retirement Institute estimated that Gen X households had an average net worth of about $450,000, and still had time to increase their wealth over the next 10 to 20 years as their earnings peak.

Not only that, many Gen Xers will partake of the $52 trillion in financial and nonfinancial assets Americans in their 60s and older are expected to pass on.

LIMRA noted that the oldest Gen Xers have entered their 50s and should be starting to plan for retirement if they have not already done so.

It said financial advisors should discuss developing a formal retirement plan that addresses Gen Xers’ top concerns of protecting family income from the risk of becoming disabled or incurring large medical expenses.

One area advisors can explore with these clients is how life insurance can help them meet their many financial responsibilities without imperiling their retirement nest eggs.

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