NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- They were "latch-key kids," then MTV teens and now mid-career workers with kids of their own. Gen X, the leading edge of which will turn 50 next year, with the youngest hitting 35, are facing the reality of their looming retirement prospects. And so far, there is much room for improvement.
Gen X was roiled by the Great Recession, losing nearly half of their wealth -- a full 45%. Now, a new study by Northwestern Mutual reveals that Gen X is compounding that major setback with the poorest financial habits of the four generations surveyed. Most respondents characterized themselves as spenders rather than savers, making them the generation most likely to have more debt than savings.
Almost four in 10 -- 37% -- admit they do not "at all feel financially secure," an outlook more pessimistic than any other generation, even the often money-challenged Millennials.
And nearly one-quarter of Gen X is "not at all confident" that they will achieve their financial goals, with their top financial fear including a lack of retirement savings. Remember, this is the generation that may face the ramifications of a shaky Social Security system, the trust funds of which are forecast to be depleted by 2033, according to a recent study by researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth.
"It is not easy being X," said Rebekah Barsch, vice president of financial planning with Northwestern Mutual, in a statement. "Aside from weathering a number of economic cycles, this group is juggling home mortgages, educational debt and lifestyle needs."