Ouch! Financial Pain Points For Millennials, Gen Xers & Boomers

March 5, 2015  |  

What’s your financial “pain point”? If you are a millennial one probably is a lack of an emergency fund.

Analysis shows each generation has a different financial “pain point,” found a new report from financial education company Financial Finesse.

The study polled millennials (born roughly between 1981 and 1996), Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980), and baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) about their personal financial management skills. There were 11,3000 respondents total. They were employed in jobs with annual salaries of $20,000 to $200,000.

Millennials make the financial mistake of not setting up an emergency fund. Only 47 percent of millennials have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Fifty percent of Generation Xers  have one and 71 percent of boomers do as well. Millennials also fail to keep up with their insurance policies. “Only 40 percent of millennials carry enough life insurance to replace their income, pay for college expenses for their children or themselves and create an emergency fund for their beneficiaries versus 52 percent of Gen Xers and 65 percent of baby boomer,” reports MarketWatch.

And millennials make are least likely to plan for retirement or college. While a whopping 83 percent of working millennials in the study contribute to a retirement plan such as a 401(k), 457 or 403(b), only seven percent contribute to a 529 plan or other tax-advantaged savings accounts to save for college expenses for their children (compared to 23 percent of Xers and 20 percent of boomers).

Meanwhile Generation X has its own set of financial mistakes. This generation is least likely to reach retirement income goals. A low 17 percent of Gen Xers are actually confident they will reach their income replacement goal (which is 80 percent of their current income) by the time they retire. And bad news for Gen X when it comes to credit card debt. Only 53 percent of Gen Xers pay off credit card balances in full; surprisingly this is less than millennials (57 percent) and boomers (66 percent).

Finally, Generation X makes the mistake of having overlapping investments. Twenty-one percent of Gen Xers responded yes, less than boomers (37 percent) and even millennials (23 percent). According to the report, Gen Xers may be too preoccupied with day-to-day issues. “Faced with competing priorities, Gen Xers may be putting their children first, at the expense of their own financial security,” writes MarketWatch.

The three main financial pain points for Baby Boomers include: not preparing for long-term care (only 16 percent) of boomers have long-term care insurance;  being unable to retire at 65 as 65 percent of baby boomers workers plan to continue working past age 65 or do not plan to retire (versus 54 percent of Generation Xers and 60 percent of millennials); and not being optimistic about future opportunities. Just 26 percent of baby boomers say they have greater opportunities available to them because of their age and generation compared with 61 percent of millennials, according to another 2014 survey by staffing firm Spherion.

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