Death of Retirement: The American Generations Facing a Grim Old Age

It’s true Baby Boomers are finding it increasingly hard to save for retirement, but the idea of retiring to the generations that followed them seems like a bad joke. So, just how bad is it? Here’s the whole story.

First They Came for the Boomers

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Retirement has become an unattainable dream for many Americans.

Baby Boomers, the generation with the most economic advantage from their upbringing, now grapple with financial insecurity as they approach their golden years. 

A Failing System

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Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are experiencing a retirement landscape vastly different from what they anticipated.

Despite decades of hard work, many find themselves ill-equipped financially, with insufficient savings to support a comfortable retirement. The system they believed in and depended on has let them down. 

How Bad Is It?

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So, the question must be: If retirement seems unattainable for the boomers, how bad will things be for the rest of us?

Gen Xers and millennials, the first generation to have worse economic outcomes than the generation before them, face serious obstacles that make saving for retirement increasingly tricky.  

Retirement Crisis

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Retirement has become a fantasy for many of the population, doomed to work until their demise. An astonishing 66% of retirees consider the nation to be in a retirement crisis. 

Millionaires Can Retire, the Rest of Us Not So Much

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The amount of money estimated for a secure retirement has ballooned to over $1 million in savings, a figure almost as unbelievable as it is unobtainable for ordinary Americans. 

From Bad News…

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This figure is even more ridiculous when the median retiree possesses just $142,500 in savings, a fraction of what experts recommend for a secure retirement. 

To Worse News

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As if this figure, less than 15% of the $1 million in savings experts suggest, was not bad enough, 25% of retirees have no savings, leaving them entirely reliant on social security benefits, which consecutive administrations are slowly chipping away. 

The Dream Becomes a Nightmare

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This crisis doesn’t only affect the boomers, however. Many Americans across all age groups have little to no savings, making the idea of a financially stable retirement a pipe dream. 

Gen X Is Next

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If the boomers are finding things difficult, it should be no surprise that Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, also finds themselves in a retirement dilemma, with many expressing profound concerns about their financial future. 

Compounding Issues

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Despite their attempts to save, the ever-increasing costs of daily expenses, along with stagnant wages, make it almost impossible to put some money aside for the future. 

You’ll Take My Latte From My Cold, Dead Hands

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Millennials, the largest adult generation born between 1981 and 1996, face a bleak retirement outlook.

High levels of student debt, stagnant wages, and the disappearance of traditional pension plans have left many millennials struggling to build wealth and save for retirement.

Cutting back on lattes and avocado toast will not fix this profound dilemma. 

Student Debt

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The most significant millstone around the necks of millennials is student debt, with over 42% of millennials shouldering the burden of student debt. 

Generational Curse

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Student debt is a significant factor that doesn’t affect the earlier generations, and the impact on millennials’ net worth is substantial, leaving them with limited resources to invest in their future.

You Got This

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Further compounding the problems millennials face is the shift away from traditional pension plans and towards 401(k) plans.

Unlike pensions, which offer a guaranteed income stream, 401(k) plans place the burden of retirement savings squarely on workers’ shoulders, leaving them vulnerable to an ever-fluctuating market, leading to financial uncertainty.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train

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The unresolved future of Social Security adds another layer of uncertainty to the future of retirement.

With the full retirement age slowly creeping ever upward and potential benefit cuts looming on the horizon, younger generations face the prospect of receiving reduced benefits at a time when financial stability is nonexistent.

A Slim Chance

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Despite their challenges, millennials have certain advantages that could help improve their retirement outlook.

Millennials’ higher levels of education position them for higher earning potential, paving the way for increased savings and wealth accumulation. 

Helpful Hints

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For millennials who find themselves behind on retirement savings, there are some steps they can try to take to improve their financial future.

Incremental increases in savings, prioritizing debt repayment, and automating savings contributions can all contribute to a more secure retirement.

A Delicate Balance

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However, finding the balance between addressing immediate financial needs and planning for retirement is essential.

While it’s crucial to prioritize debt repayment and emergency savings, neglecting long-term retirement savings can have severe consequences in the future.

Collective Efforts

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Despite some steps that can make planning for retirement more accessible, more than individual action is needed.

Policymakers must consider measures to strengthen the social safety net and add incentives that make saving for retirement worthwhile.

Hope for Future Generations

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While the possibility of retiring in the future may seem delusional to many, there is some small room for optimism.

By taking steps to address financial challenges, leveraging their available resources, and advocating tirelessly for policy reforms, such as the cancellation of student debt, ordinary Americans can begin to force policymakers to work to ensure a secure retirement for future generations.

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The post Death of Retirement: The American Generations Facing a Grim Old Age first appeared on Thrift My Life.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.