KEY POINTS
  • By some measures, millennials lag on retirement preparedness and net worth relative to older generations such as Gen X and baby boomers.
  • There are many reasons for this, such as a shift away from pensions toward 401(k) plans and high student debt burdens.
  • However, there are also reasons for optimism, such as advances in 401(k) plan design.

Millennials' retirement prospects seem rockier than those of older generations of Americans.

That's largely a function of long-term policy changes such as a later age for full Social Security benefits and a shift to 401(k)-type plans, longer average lifespans and a bigger student debt burden relative to cohorts such as Generation X and baby boomers, according to retirement experts.