What Gen X, Gen Y Think About Their Financial Situation

To better understand Gen X and Gen Y’s current and future financial situation, the American Savings Education Council and AARP commissioned a survey with members of these two generations. The online survey of 1,752 Americans ages 19-39 was conducted back in January 2008.

This research found that:

  • Many young adults have yet to align their actions with their financial values and goals. While 91% report having financial goals for themselves, only 53% report sticking to a monthly budget. And while 62% have given at least some thought to their own retirement, 61% feel their retirement savings is behind schedule. 42% give themselves a grade of D or F to describe how well they are saving.
  • There is a lack of financial sophistication among younger generations. Respondents were more likely to say they are very knowledgeable about their iPod (40%), than about how to file their taxes (26%), buy a home (21%), invest outside of the workplace (15%), or save for retirement (15%).
  • Four out of five young adults report having some type of non-mortgage debt. This includes 63% with credit card debt, 48% with car loans, 31% with student loans, and 27% with medical debt.
  • Workplace benefits are valued by employed young adults. At least three-quarters of employed young adults say it is important for their employer to provide health insurance, a retirement savings plan, matches or contributions to a retirement savings plan, a wellness plan, and education and/or advice on how to save for retirement.
  • Many young adults feel things are harder for them than previous generations. Roughly half of those surveyed believe it is harder to support a family (54%), save for the long-term (52%), save for a child’s college education (50%), and buy a first home (47%) than it was for previous generations.

Key Question: If they think things were going to be hard for them back in January, how do you think they feel today, in the throes of a recession?

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