There are roughly 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States that are about to transition out of the highest wage earning years of their lives and into retirement where they'll be making precisely nothing. Unfortunately, as MarketWatch points out today, those Baby Boomers are woefully unprepared for what awaits them.
According to Legg Mason, the average Baby Boomer needs roughly $650,000 to fund their retirement years but have only managed to save about about $250,000 in their defined contribution plans. Now, while equity markets don't seem to think this is a big deal, someone will eventually have to cover that $30 trillion shortfall...and, we suspect that's a funding hole that even the American taxpayers can't cover.
Baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, expect they’ll need $658,000 in their defined contribution plans by the time they retire, but the average in those employer-sponsored plans is $263,000, according to a survey of 900 investors by financial services firm Legg Mason. Older boomers, who are 65 to 74, have an average of $300,000. Their asset allocation for all of their investments are also conservative, according to QS Investors, an investment management firm Legg Mason acquired in 2014, with 30% in cash, 24% in equities, 22% in fixed income, 4% in non-traditional assets, 8% in investment real estate, 2% in gold and other precious metals and 8% in other investments.
“They have less than half the assets they hope to have in retirement,” said James Norman, president of QS Investors. “That’s a pretty big miss.”
Of course, it's not just Baby Boomers who are bad savers. Generation X is not much better off...
Americans across the country, and all age groups, are drastically under-saved for retirement. Only a third of Americans who have access to a 401(k) plan contribute to it, and previous research suggests the typical middle-aged American couple only has $5,000 saved for the future. Meanwhile, millennials may not be able to picture themselves in retirement at all, though are urged by financial professionals to make a habit of saving, if even only as little as $5.
Generation X, or those born between 1965 and 1981, aren’t doing all that much better, though they have the benefit of more time to reach their financial goals. More of them have a defined contribution plan, according to the Legg Mason survey, with an average of $199,000 stashed away for a goal of $541,000 by retirement. They are also investing conservatively, with 25% in cash, 21% in equities, 17% in fixed income, 11% in non-traditional assets, 16% in investment real estate, 7% in gold and other precious metals and 4% in other investments. Conversely, QS Investors suggest their Gen-X aged clients have 80% in equities, which faces more risks from the stock market but could also realize higher returns.
Meanwhile, we've frequently noted the Millennials' distaste for saving money with the majority of them having less that $1,000 set aside for emergencies.
The majority of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck.
A recent survey of millennials by HowMuch.net found that 51.8% of those aged 18-34 have less than $1,000 held between bank accounts and cash savings.
As Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, this echoes previous data we’ve seen – not just on millennials, but Americans in general. For example, we know that 14% of Americans have “negative” wealth. We also know that 62% of Americans don’t have emergency savings that could cover a $1,000 hospital visit or a $500 car repair.
Oh well, we're sure it will all just naturally sort itself out.