Are our children better prepared than we boomers are?

This sure got our attention here at BoomerCafé: based on a study focused on baby boomers, our generation is less prepared for retirement than our millennial children are. It comes from the consumer newsletter Bottom Line Inc., an arm of a publishing company in Stamford, Connecticut. Maybe if you read it and see yourself in the mirror, you can prepare a little better.

You might think that most millennials, those young adults who are now in their 20s and 30s, have not gotten very far in figuring out financial goals for retirement. And you might think that the baby boomer generation, many of whose members, if not already retired, are right on the brink of retirement, could teach millennials a thing or two about retirement planning.

You’d be wrong … and wrong.

According to a study of group retirement plans by research firm J.D. Power, 51% of millennials have set specific retirement goals, compared with a mere 44% of baby boomers (and 44% of members of Generation X, the group in-between millennials and boomers).

This means that for many baby boomers, their know-it-all kids might just know a lot more than their parents do when it comes to retirement planning and finances.

The results of this study might help spur you to step up your own retirement planning. If you’re a boomer, they might even convince you to— gasp!— ask your kids for advice.

A Tally of Two Generations

The study found that 61% of millennials— nearly two out of three— have $25,000 or more banked for retirement and more than one in four— 27%— have more than $100,000 saved for life beyond their earning years. Even better news for them is the fact that they still have an average of 30 to 35 years left to save before they retire.

Their parents on the other hand (which would be you) are more likely to have fallen behind. While 75% of baby boomers surveyed have saved more than $100,000, they average just three years left until retirement. On average, boomers will hit age 65 with savings that equal just 3.4 years of their current income— a far cry from the 10 years that some experts recommend.

Of course, baby boomers came of age at a time when discussions about wealth (or the lack thereof) were much rarer than they are today and even taboo in many families and workplaces. They also started their working lives in an era when companies tended to fully fund lifetime pensions for longtime workers, and that made it easy to develop a belief that “things will be taken care of.” In many cases, of course, those pensions turned out to be far less than anticipated or even, for younger boomers, they evaporated as companies closed down their pension plans.

Millenials, on the other hand, grew up in an era of nearly nonstop talk about saving for retirement and about how no one — not the government and not employers — is going to provide retirement rescue. So they may have a darker view of what’s coming down the pike for them … and realize that retirement money will have to come from them.

What does this mean for you? That depends on how old you are and how much you’ve saved. It’s either an atta boy and a keep it up… or a reminder that you need to get real so you don’t outlive your savings.

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