It's only natural that people approaching retirement worry a little about whether they'll be able to get by without a paycheck. Maybe people with a few million socked away don't think about it much, but the rest of us worry.
A survey by American Funds – part of Capital Group – finds members of Generation X are increasingly concerned. And maybe with good reason.
After all, Baby Boomers had years of savings behind them when the Great Recession hit. Many Millennials were still in school. Generation X was just approaching its prime earning years when the unemployment rate soared past 10%, almost overnight.
"After experiencing the dot-com bust, the global financial crisis and the housing collapse, as well as stagnant wage growth during their formative adult years, Gen Xers — or Generation AnXious — are wary about their financial future," said Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group.
And of course, career disruptions have affected retirement saving. Millennials learned the Great Recession lesson pretty well, and many of its members started saving for retirement by age 25.
Even though time is beginning to run short for Generation X, financial advisers say it's never too late to start saving for retirement. A good target, says wealth management advisor Michelle Perry Higgins, is putting away 20% of your income.
But Generation X is a victim of bad timing. Not only did the Great Recession hit it in mid career, there were big changes taking place in employer-based retirement systems just as Generation X was entering the workforce.
A 2014 study by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies calls Generation X the “401(k) generation.” It entered the workforce along with the introduction of 401(k) plans and the decline of defined benefit plans. Because the plans were new, early participants didn't get the same education and guidance that are standard practice today.
"Most [GenX members] are saving for retirement but many have not saved enough,” the report said. “Questions about the future of Social Security loom for them. The first Gen Xers will start becoming eligible for full benefits at age 67 in the year 2032, just one year before the Social Security Trust Fund’s forecast depletion.”
Working past 65
The report found that 54% of Generation X employees expect to still be working at age 65 and beyond, and increasingly that is becoming an idea embraced by Baby Boomers as well.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, New Jersey financial adviser Ann Minnium said she has several clients who are enjoying a successful retirement because of their willingness to work – not full-time, but part-time.
"The part-time income was the missing piece that completed a seemingly unsolvable puzzle," she said.
And that doesn't mean you have to keep doing a job you hate. Instead, it allows you to do something you enjoy, which might not seem much like work at all.