An alarming number of members of Generation X — more than a quarter — haven’t stowed any money away for retirement, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Toronto-based Franklin Templeton Investments Canada.
The report, Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations, explains that this oft-overlooked generation (which is generally defined as people born between 1965 and 1979) is facing an uphill battle when saving for the future.
“With the rising cost of living — coupled with school-aged children, their own student loans or aging parents to attend to — Generation X [members are] being stretched beyond their financial limits in many cases, which hasn’t left much room for contributions to their retirement savings,” says Duane Green, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments Canada, in a statement.
This lack of retirement savings is likely the reason why more than half Canadian Gen-Xers (56%) would consider retiring later than planned if they don’t have enough income, according to the survey. Even millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), with more time available to save for retirement, say they would consider pushing back their retirement timelines (51%).
Gen-Xers simply can’t maximize their annual contribution limits for registered accounts because their income is too low (47%) and their expenses are too high (29%), the survey indicates.
“With not enough income, high expenses and large consumer and mortgage debt loads, Generation X is struggling to save. This may have been the case for some baby boomers (1946-1965), but their saving grace was that some were able to sell in a high-flying housing market and many had pensions,” says Matthew Williams, senior vice president of Franklin Templeton Investments Canada, in a statement.
“Generation X may not be as lucky, given they have hefty mortgages that they can barely afford — especially if interest rates increase — and some do not even have home equity as they are renting.”
What Gen-Xers fear most about paying for in retirement is their lifestyle expenses (23%). The second highest concern is paying for medical and pharmaceutical expenses (21%), which may become a serious problem for many as 59% don’t know how they will cover those costs.
The study does reveal one solution that can help ease the stress of retirement savings: financial advice. Canadians who have never sought financial advice are four times more likely to have anxiety about their retirement savings than those who have a financial advisor (16% vs. 4%).
Regardless of demographics, Canadians who work with an advisor are shown to save more money for their twilight years. Specifically, non-retired Canadians with an advisor are three times more likely to have saved more than $100,000 for retirement than those without one (49% vs. 16%).
The survey was conducted online from Jan. 17 to Jan. 28 among a sample of 2,009 Canadians and 2,002 Americans.