PERsonal Finance

Survey says: Gen Xers most worried about finances, retirement preparedness.

Stress can come from having to care for both children and elderly parents.

Wealth Watch - Gen X Family

The latest installment of New York Life’s Wealth Watch survey found that while Americans felt the impacts of economic uncertainty and volatility in 2022, most are optimistic about their finances. However, this optimism dissipates quickly for Gen X, with 60% feeling either “uncertain” or “anxious” about their finances and only 28% feeling “hopeful.” 

Who is Gen X? Anyone born between 1965 to 1980.

Why are they so stressed about finances? "As people are living longer, they’re more likely to become parent-caregivers, handling both parent or guardian duties and unpaid adult caregiving roles," said Suzanne Schmitt, head of Financial Wellness at New York Life. “Caregiving cuts across all genders, races, and socioeconomic status and it can impact mental, physical, and financial health.”

How Gen X stacks up against other generations:

  • 28% of Gen Xers feel less able to manage debt, compared to 25% of Millennials, 21% of Gen Zers, and 17% of Baby Boomers.
  • 40% of Gen Xers say they are not confident in their ability to meet their financial goals, versus 35% of Millennials, 32% of Baby Boomers and 26% of Gen Zers.

Why it matters: Gen X represents a segment of the workforce that’s established, and often in their peak earning years prior to retirement.

Unique challenges: Many Gen Xers are caught in the middle of financial wellness priorities, juggling household and family obligations and work duties along with long-term financial goals, like retirement. They also may face certain life events such as divorce, rising health care costs, and possible disability. According to the survey:

  • Over half (53%) of Gen Xers do not have any retirement savings or a retirement strategy.
  • Nearly half (45%) feel less prepared than their peers for retirement.

Gen X action plan: According to Schmitt, in 2023 this group should focus on tackling debt, building emergency funds, and preparing for retirement. A comprehensive financial wellness strategy should be designed to understand the challenges someone in this segment may face, she says, along with relevant, personalized recommendations to meet an individual’s unique needs.

The bottom line: Most Gen Xers who have a financial strategy (71%) are not planning on making changes to that strategy in 2023, but for those who do intend to make changes, getting help from a trusted professional is among their first steps:

  •  40% of Gen Xers plan to start working with a financial professional or using a robo-advisor in 2023.
  • 42% are planning to make changes to prepare for retirement.

“A well-rounded financial strategy, including professional support, can help address relevant needs and improve financial health goals,” says Schmitt. 



This poll was conducted between December 17 and December 20, 2022 among a national sample of 4,410 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.

Media contact

Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499