Responding to a long, thoughtful article in last Sunday's New York Times about the predicament of America's next generation of retirees, a reader from Minneapolis named Patrick cut to the chase: "I'm a Gen Xer. None of my siblings or friends save a dime."
In so many words, he summed up a new report from the consulting firm PwC (formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers). The report, the 2013 edition of an annual temperature-taking of working people's financial wellness, portrays Generation X—the roughly 85 million Americans 32 to 52 years of age—as the most direly affected by the savings crisis.
And they know it. Less than 40 percent of this group told PwC that they are confident about their retirement. Of those over 50, it's less than a quarter.
PwC's findings are hardly new. While the current retired generation is famous for their thrift and the nation's youngest adults are already showing signs of financial savvy, the unpreparedness of both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers has been extensively documented.
But while many Boomers seemed to have been better positioned to profit from the dotcom boom and the housing bubble (not to mention their Greatest Generation parents' estates), Gen X was hit with a severe recession in their prime wealth-building years. From 2007 to 2010, a recent Pew study found, Gen-Xers lost 45 percent of their net worth – about $33,000 on average.