This is the only generation less prepared for retirement than they were even two years ago No ratings yet.

The slacker generation is slacking on preparing for retirement.

On Thursday, financial firm Fidelity Investments released its biennial Retirement Savings Assessment, which looks at how ready Americans are to retire. Overall, the average American saver has “steadily improved their retirement readiness over the last 15 years to have 83% of the income Fidelity estimates they will need over the course of their expected retirement years,” the report reveals.

In 2006, that number was just 62%; it’s improved so much thanks in part to the fact that “investors are saving more,” explains Melissa Ridolfi, vice president of retirement and college for Fidelity Investments — who adds that the median savings rate is now 10% among savers across all generations. The Fidelity survey of more than 3,000 working households looks at workplace and individual savings accounts, Social Security benefits, pension benefits, inheritances, home equity and business ownership to project these numbers.

But one generation saw their retirement readiness scores fall: Generation X. These savers (ages 39-54) only have 80% of the income they need to retire, Fidelity estimates; that’s down from 83% in 2018. Meanwhile, boomer scores were 87% and millennial scores 82%. (Note that these percentages mean they’re on track to retire with that amount of funding only if they continue to save until they retire.)

What’s more, other data reveal that Gen X is struggling to save for retirement too. Data from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies show that while millennial and boomer savers are socking away 10% of their income for retirement, members of Generation X are only putting in 8%%. (Its also important to note that as many as half of Gen Xers may not be actively saving for retirement at all right now).

So why is Gen X struggling so much to save for retirement? Though they save roughly the same percentage of their income as millennials (about 9.7%), according to Fidelity, “they don’t have as long before they retire,” explains Ridolfi, so they may need to save more to get to their goal. They may be struggling to save more, she adds, as “they are juggling a lot of financial priorities — housing, saving for college, medical costs.”

Indeed, Gen X does have a lot of financial responsibilities. Consider: They have the highest levels of mortgage debt, according to Experian — at $237,753, compared with $222,211 for millennials and $175,743 for boomers. They have more personal debt ($36,000) on average than boomers ($28,600) and millennials ($27,900), according to the 2019 Planning & Progress Study by Northwestern Mutual. Here are a number of other ways that Gen X is “financially wrecked.”

So what can a financially strapped Gen Xer do? Ridolfi recommends those over 50 take advantage of catch-up contributions in your 401(k), which is an additional $6,500 in 2020, look at their asset allocation to make sure it’s in line with their age and goals, and simply try to save more. “You don’t have to do it all at once — when you get a raise, try to up the percentage [you contribute],” she says.

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