NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gen X Women Save Too Little For Retirement

May 25, 2001

Generation X women -- who are ages 21 to 34 currently -- understand the importance of saving for retirement and of eliminating consumer debt. However, most of them are in debt, have little saved for retirement and do not participate in a retirement savings program, according to a recent national survey commissioned by OppenheimerFunds, in association with Third Millennium and the Sutra Foundation.

According to the nationwide poll conducted by Yankelovich Partners Inc. in February 2001:

  • Seventy-seven percent of Gen X women surveyed have some type of personal debt -- student loan, car loan, credit card balance, mortgage or home equity loan.
  • Credit card debt is the most common type, with 46 percent reporting an outstanding balance -- typically $2,000 -- with women ages 30 to 34 having a higher outstanding balance ($3,000) than 21-to-24-year olds ($1,700).
  • About two-thirds of Gen X women (65 percent) rate paying off their credit card debt as a high personal priority, ahead of finding a spouse or partner (37 percent), having an active social life (24 percent) or possessing nice clothes or a nice car (20 percent).

While retirement saving is important to younger workers, their participation rates in workplace retirement savings programs is low.

  • Some 69 percent of Gen X women say it's important to save for retirement.
  • And a strong employer-sponsored retirement plan was the most important workplace benefit for 38 percent -- ahead of flexible work schedules (31 percent), child care or elder care (13 percent), company stock or options (10 percent) or generous vacation time (5 percent).
  • But the typical Gen X woman has only $5,000 in retirement savings, and according to Yankelovich's 2000 MONITOR survey, less than a third (32 percent) of Gen Xers were covered by and contributed to a 401(k) type plan.

Source: "When It Comes To Saving And Investing, Gen X Women Think About Tomorrow But Live For Today," OppenheimerFunds, Third Millennium and the Sutra Foundation, May 1, 2001.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues