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Tom: Good morning, Mellody Hobson!

Mellody: Good morning! We are talking about retirement again today and this time we are focusing on Generation X.

Generation X is made up of those of us who were born between 1965 and 1978. At this point, this generation is in the prime of their careers, and probably earning more than they will at any other point in their life. We also have to remember that fortune smiled on Generation X, as most of their career saw positive economic developments. People in this age group earn substantially more money than their parents did at the same point in their lives, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The typical Gen-X household earns nearly $12,000 more than its parents’ household did at the same age, adjusted for inflation and household size. Total labor force participation has risen strongly during most of their working lifetimes. And, on top of that, the gains were comprehensive. Income has risen for every quintile, and for all races. All in all, my generation has seen prosperity. Today, we will talk about how that has translated into the retirement landscape ahead!

Tom: What defines Generation X in terms of their retirement approach?

Mellody: Generation X is, for the most part, the most realistic generation when it comes to what will be required for retirement. They are most aware of the amount they will need for retirement, with the median response being one million dollars. Additionally, you could call GenX the 401(k) generation. They entered the workforce in the late 1980s just as 401(k)s were making their first appearance and pensions and other defined benefit plans were disappearing for the average American.

As a result, Generation X is the first generation of Americans to have access to 401(k)s for most if not all of their career. Due to all of these preparations, just 54% of GenX plans to work past 65, while 65% of boomers and 60% of millennials plan to work in retirement. And yet, with all of this forward thinking and understanding of what needs to be done, they have not always kept up with their retirement visions.

Tom: How are they doing in terms of preparation?

Mellody: Relatively well. Most GenXers have planned to count on self-funding their retirement and have acted accordingly. But there is definitely room for improvement in some areas. Lets look at some numbers from a Transamerica center study of retirement habits by generation. In terms of access to retirement plans, Generation X wins out over their fellow Americans in other age brackets with 74% having access, compared to only 62% of millennials.

Money Mondays: Generation X And Retirement Savings – What You Need To Know Now  was originally published on

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