The survey asked respondents across all generations to categorize each financial objective as major, minor, or not an objective. Of the financial objectives cited as major, having financial peace of mind, maintaining an acceptable quality of life (cited by 70 percent), and saving for retirement in a 401(k) (65 percent) were the top three for Generation X.
Additional findings across all generations include:
*More women than men cite financial peace of mind as a major objective. Seventy-five percent of all respondents view having financial peace of mind as a major objective, with 83 percent of women selecting it as a major objective, compared with 71 percent of men.
*40l(k) contribution rates are trending upward. That's especially true of millennials (ages 18-35), 45 percent of whom say their expected contribution rate is now higher than their contribution rate in the last 12 months. For Generation X (ages 36-51) and baby boomers (age 52 or older), 36 percent and 30 percent, respectively, say they expect to increase their 401(k) contributions in the coming months.
*Employer match makes a difference. The majority of individuals determine their contribution rate based on their employer match, with 65 percent taking full advantage of the match.
The survey examined the attitudes and behaviors of just over 3,000 adults, focusing on Generation X's financial objectives and attitudes toward financial advice.
“Those in Generation X are at a time in their lives when awareness and concern for their retirement savings is steadily increasing,” says
For the financial objectives rated as major or minor in the survey, respondents specified the progress they have made with each as a great deal of progress, some, not very much, or practically none.
Key findings include:
*Generation X is making some or a great deal of progress with their major household financial objectives. For the five objectives Generation X most often cited as major, 80 percent reported making some or a great deal of progress on having financial peace of mind; 86 percent on maintaining an acceptable quality of life; 83 percent on saving for retirement through a current 401(k), workplace plan, or previous employer plan; 75 percent on reducing debt; and 84 percent on managing and budgeting for day-to-day expenses.
*Progress with other financial objectives is slower. Though many Generation X savers expect to put away more for retirement than they used to, on average, they are saving 9 percent of their income in their 401(k), with more than half of respondents saving less than 10 percent.
*Their competing financial priorities may be the explanation. Fifty-one percent of Generation X respondents contributing less to their 401(k) than the amount the
In the survey, respondents who acknowledged their need for advice for specific financial objectives also evaluated four categories of advice-selecting investments, figuring out how much to save, tracking progress, and prioritizing objectives-and indicated in which areas they want advice.
Generation X chose tracking progress as the type of advice they would like to have across many of their major financial objectives, including reducing various types of debt (indicated by 41 percent of respondents), managing and budgeting their day-to-day expenses (36 percent), and saving for retirement through their current 40l(k) accounts (33 percent).
And their 401(k) provider emerged as the leading source of advice. Nearly 70 percent of those in Generation X view the company that manages their 401(k) as the leading source of advice that they rely on a “great deal” or “somewhat” to achieve their financial goals, above their employer, an adviser, online tools, or friends and family.
Their preference for a human adviser is evident. When asked for the type of adviser that would be best for them, 40 percent of Generation X respondents selected a human adviser and another 39 percent indicated a combination of a human and digital adviser as their preference.
“As a retirement plan provider, these findings are meaningful and provide a deeper understanding of the financial needs specific to Generation X,” says
The findings are based on a national survey of adults age 18 and older who have never retired and are currently contributing to a 401(k) plan or are eligible to contribute, and have an account balance of at least
This is the third year the survey was conducted.
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