December 19, 2011 / 6:56 PM / 8 years ago

Gen X and Gen Y saving more than Boomers: survey

(Reuters) - More than a quarter of Baby Boomers are unsure if they will be able to meet their savings goals by the time they are ready to retire, while their children appear to be on sounder footing, according to a TD Ameritrade survey.

This year the first of the ‘Boomers’ — the post WWII generation born between 1946 and 1964 — began heading into their golden years at a rate of around 10,000 a day.

The survey of 1,509 adults, conducted by Maritz Inc on behalf of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp, found that 27 percent of Boomers were less than confident or not at all confident that they will have saved what they hoped by the time they hit 65.

“In these difficult economic times more and more Americans are finding that they are not prepared for retirement,” Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services at TD Ameritrade, said in a release.

Almost half said they were somewhat confident they will reach their savings goals in time, while 23 percent were completely confident.

When it comes to planning for retirement, 85 percent said they have an IRA or a 401k or 403b retirement plan, while 36 percent have both.

But only 16 percent of Boomers, and 9 percent of those categorized in the survey as ‘mature’ — born between 1930 and 1945 — said they were funding both plans.


The younger generations, which came of age in a more economically turbulent time than their parents or grandparents, were more active on the saving front.

A quarter of respondents from the ‘Gen Y’ generation — born between 1977 and 1989 — said they were funding both their 401k or 403b plans and their IRAs.

And 23 percent of ‘Gen Xers — born between 1965 and 1967 — said they were funding both.

“The good news is that many working Americans, especially those who are young, are taking advantage of saving for retirement in a tax free environment through options like an IRA despite a tough economy,” said Braxdale.

“But funding these accounts on a regular basis is the key — even if it’s a small amount. Every year that you don’t fund your IRA is lost opportunity for tax regrowth,” Braxdale said.

While people 50 years of age and older are eligible to make catch-up contributions of an additional $5,500 to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, 68 percent said they were not doing so, with half saying they could not afford to and just over a fifth saying they did not know they could do so.

Looking forward, 38 percent of respondents who were 66 and older said they would have to continue to work in retirement to pay the bills, compared to 21 percent of Boomers. Only 16 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of Gen Yers said the same.

When asked if they would pay off their debts if they received an inheritance of $1 million, 62 percent of Gen Xers and 55 percent of Gen Yers said they would, compared to 45 percent of Boomers.

Other findings of the telephone survey conducted between July 20 and August 17, include:

- 63 percent said they automatically deposit some money from their monthly household income into a savings or investment account

- 62 percent said they follow a budget

- 83 percent track their household expenses

- 86 percent pay off credit cards as quickly as they can

The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent.

Reporting by John McCrank in New York; Editing by Chelsea Emery

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