The forgotten generation? Exploring retirement income prospects of Generation X – interim findings report

The forgotten generation? Retirement income prospects of Generation X - interim findings

Many Gen Xers face the grave reality of retiring without an adequate income. 15 years on from the Pension Commission’s Second Report, we again find ourselves in challenging times. Among other issues, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, high housing costs, low returns on investments, job insecurity, increasing caring responsibilities, and low increases in wage rates, are making it difficult for those aged between 40 and 55 to adequately prepare for retirement.

With support from Phoenix Group, ILC has been assessing these challenges to highlight the stark realities facing this cohort of 14 million people. Through a series of panel discussions, we have spoken to people from across this group to hear first-hand just how difficult preparing for retirement is. This interim report paper highlights these concerns, as well as some of the key findings from a nationally representative survey of over 6035 UK adults aged 40-55 (Gen Xers).

Our initial analysis only amplifies the level of difficulty facing this group. Amidst a myriad of challenges, we found that the key issues affecting this group are:

  1. Many Gen Xers can expect low incomes in retirement.
  2. Many Gen Xers find it hard to prepare for retirement due to a lack of financial stability and other pressing priorities.
  3. COVID-19 is only going to make things harder – the economic fallout will set back many Gen Xers, but it could also increase engagement in retirement planning.

If we act now, we can prevent millions of Gen Xers from the serious possibility of struggling in retirement.

With these considerations in mind, we need to make sure policymakers, industry representatives and employers are aware of the struggles that Generation X face. Since most Gen Xers say they want to save more but are struggling to do so, there is significant scope to address these challenges.

Our final report, due to be published in early 2021, will make a series of recommendations to support Generation X to retire with more comfortable levels of pension provision. We encourage people from across the policy spectrum to offer their insight and ideas to build on the messages and analysis in our report. We want to transform, improve and reconcile the retirement income prospects of an otherwise forgotten generation: Generation X.

An independent ILC report, produced with the support of Phoenix Group.

Authors: Sophia Dimitriadis and Patrick Swain