How You See Retirement May be Based on Your Age

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Do you think about retirement the same way as your parents did? The same way as your children do?


Probably not.


A new study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® finds that while three distinct generations — Millennial, Generation X, and Baby Boomers — have concerns about preparing for retirement, the concerns are different.

The 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, one of the longest-running surveys of its kind, took a closer look at how different generations think about retirement. As you might expect, they all go beyond a beach chair and a golf course.

Three generations, three outlooks


Here’s what each generation is dealing with.

Baby Boomers
(born between 1946 and 1964) grew up with some access to pensions and were the first to have access to workplace retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, but have had less time to use them. Almost 40% expect Social Security to be their primary income source in retirement.

Gen Xers
(1965 to 1978) went to work just as pensions were fading and the responsibility of retirement saving shifted to them. While their retirement confidence is lacking and many are behind, they should know they still have time to catch up. Only 14% are “very confident” they can retire to a comfortable lifestyle.

(1979 to 2000) worry Social Security will not be there for them in retirement (80%) and believe retirement funding will fall on their shoulders. More than 70% are saving for retirement through employer-sponsored plans and/or outside the workplace, but they need to learn more about investing. And one more thing: almost 1 in 5 believe they will live to 100 or beyond. 


But there are some common threads. Three quarters (76%) of all surveyed workers believe they’ll have a harder time in retirement than their parents, and 76% are concerned about the status of Social Security.

The entire study, “Wishful Thinking or Within Reach? Three Generations Prepare for ‘Retirement’” is available online.


What’s your perspective, and what would you share with the generation coming up after you? And those of you just starting out, what are the questions you need help with? Share your ideas with the community.



Since 1998, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) has conducted a national survey of U.S. business employers and workers regarding their attitudes toward retirement. The overall goals of the study are to illuminate emerging trends, promote awareness, and help educate the public. It has grown to be one of the longest-running and largest national surveys of its kind.

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) is a division of Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. Transamerica Institute is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties.


TCRS and its representatives cannot give ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. Interested parties must consult and rely solely upon their own independent advisors regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented here. For more information please refer to




well this is my thought of retirement i have 2yrs 2 go and i am trying to deceide what to do in another 6mths i will be 65 and i trying to figure out if i want to apply for my soc sec now or not i am thinking hard and smart


I'm thinking seriously about starting SS at age 61. Knowing there's a penalty to start early but I'm not sure if age 61 opposed to age 65 would make that much of a difference in being penalized. I am aware if I start SS earlier than age 65.  Benefits will be same at age 65. Meaning once I decided to do this; file SS age 61!  Benefits will not  go higher  age 65.   I'd be locked in .  So age 61 vs 65?  I really not know what is the purpose to keep "baby boomers" in the workplace? Yes, we could come out " retire" if choose and not have enough funds to simply enjoy everyday living. or continue working and for some of us still not have enough funds to enjoy everyday living? Why oh why did retirement age go from age 55 depending on birth year?  Am fortunate I'm not a millinium.   Some of us do not prefer having to keep working until policy retirement age. I am working because I have to and need to. I'd weloome coming out " retiring "  at age 61 or 62 with no penalty. And am so seriously thinking of coming out " retiring "  age 61.  Am thinking also if I should wait until age 65.  there will be SS? No one knows , right? 


With an almost 1/3 jump in SS benefits for waiting until 70 to retire, it would seem to be a no brainer to wait.  I am 66 now and my wife is 62, our retirement benefits are tied to her retirement age of 65 so it would be a clear choice to remain working for another four years.  I've seen a lot of my friends retire early only to find that SS and pension benefits aren't enough to keep pace with rising costs and property taxes and wish they had continued to work as long as possible.


retirement i am looking forward to retiring in the next yr and i am really ready i think 30yrs at one job is enough for one person i think i desire a break from being on someone elses time time clark 


i am looking forward to retireing in the 2020 yr