Reality Bites: Why Gen X-ers Will Have a Rough Retirement

This group isn't saving enough amid shrinking benefits and soaring expenses.

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Members of generation X aren't too optimistic about retirement, and rightly so. Among workers ages 25 to 34, just 18 percent say they're "very confident" about having enough money to retire comfortably, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That's down from 31 percent in 2007.

Compared with the baby boomers, this generation has less of a safety net (think shrinking pensions and uncertain Social Security benefits), plus they'll probably be planning for a longer retirement, points out this story in USA Today.

Yet, burdened by high housing costs, stifling college debt, stagnating wages and outsize health insurance and gas prices, Gen Xers are saving too little for retirement, just as workplace benefits have shrunk.

If you think your current standard of living doesn't stack up to your parents' standard of living at the same age, you're right. According to an Economic Mobility Project report cited in the story, the median income for men now in their 30s, when adjusted for inflation, is 12 percent lower than what their dads earned three decades earlier.

And while the inflation-adjusted price of "essentials" like housing and health insurance has soared, gen X-ers are facing competing priorities, such as paying down consumer debt and saving for long-term goals. It all reminds me of something a character in the 1994 movie Reality Bites said: "My favorite part about graduating now will be dodging my student loan officer for the rest of my life. He will be in cahoots with the Columbia Record and Tape Company guy."

The USA Today story is full of stats that will either scare you into saving more (almost half of those ages 25 to 34 aren't saving for retirement) or lead you to become even more apathetic. For those in the first camp, you can click here for seven tips on saving.