E*TRADE Study Reveals Investing Jitters Among Oft-Overlooked Sandwich Generation

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NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC) today announced results from its most recent wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors. Results indicate Gen X investors are significantly less confident about their financial future than Millennials or Baby Boomers:

  • They are the least likely to feel wealthy. Gen X is the least likely to describe themselves as wealthy (43%)—even less so than Millennials—despite reporting larger amounts of investable assets.
  • Retirement saving trumps all other fears. Gen X is the only generation of investors who stress more about not having enough saved for retirement (32%) than the loss of a loved one (26%).
  • Early retirement withdrawals on the rise. Almost four in 10 Gen X investors (37%) said they have taken an early retirement withdrawal, rising 10 percentage points in the past five years.

“Gen X are major contributors to the economy, making up about one third of today’s workforce, so the financial well-being of this population is critical,” said Mike Loewengart, VP of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “While the financial challenges Millennials face are often in the spotlight, like student loans and health care costs, Gen X not only faces these, but also the compounding challenges of mortgages, financing education for their kids, and even managing their children’s and parents’ finances. Yet despite this perfect storm of financial challenges, they still have time on their side. And, there are a number of steps they can take to help build their confidence while easing the burden to save for the future.”

Mr. Loewengart offered guidance for Gen X investors looking to grow their retirement nest egg and build their investing confidence:

  • Maximize retirement contributions. Qualified employer-sponsored retirement savings plans create a tax-advantaged way for employees to automatically save for retirement with each paycheck, and many employers also offer a matching contribution—which is as close to free money as one will ever come by in the investing world.
  • Automatic contributions take away the guesswork. Automatic contributions are not reserved only for employer-sponsored plans: An individual can establish them for any brokerage or retirement account, which, when coupled with an employer-sponsored plan, can create diversification across account types. These plans let investors deposit a fixed amount at steady intervals. Automatic investing helps reduce risk through dollar-cost averaging by taking advantage of the natural ups and downs of the market.
  • Consider human guidance with a financial advisor. Gen X investors are less likely than other generations to seek the help of an investment professional when it comes to managing their finances, which could contribute to their anxiety. Gen X investors tend to have more complex financial challenges, managing both their own wealth and that of their dependents. By enlisting the help of an advisor, they can create a comprehensive financial plan—with a financial advisor acting as a coach to help prioritize, budget, and allocate appropriately for the future.

E*TRADE aims to enhance the financial independence of traders and investors through a powerful digital offering and professional guidance. To learn more about E*TRADE’s trading and investing platforms and tools, visit etrade.com.

For useful trading and investing insights from E*TRADE, follow the company on Twitter, @ETRADE.

About the Survey

This wave of the survey was conducted from October 1 to October 10 of 2019 among an online US sample of 902 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.20 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. It was fielded and administered by Dynata. The panel is broken into thirds of active (trade more than once a week), swing (trade less than once a week but more than once a month), and passive (trade less than once a month). The panel is 60% male and 40% female, with an even distribution across online brokerages, geographic regions, and age bands.

Referenced Data

How would you describe your current financial situation?

 

 

Age

 

Total

25–34

35–54

55+

Top 2 Box

49%

49%

43%

50%

Very wealthy

6%

10%

4%

3%

Somewhat wealthy

43%

39%

39%

47%

Only a little wealthy

37%

38%

40%

38%

Not wealthy at all

14%

14%

17%

12%

Bottom 2 Box

51%

51%

57%

50%

Which of the broad categories below best describes your household’s total investable assets?

 

 

Age

 

Total

25–34

35–54

55+

<$50K (NET)

9%

19%

8%

2%

$50K–$99K (NET)

17%

28%

15%

5%

$100K–$499K (NET)

36%

34%

48%

28%

$500K–$999K (NET)

18%

12%

17%

26%

$1MM+ (NET)

20%

7%

12%

39%

How often, if at all, do you worry about each of the following?

 

 

Age

 

Total

25–34

35–54

55+

Not having enough saved for retirement

27%

37%

32%

10%

Loss of a loved one

30%

39%

26%

23%

Loss of a job

19%

28%

21%

6%

Personal relationship issues

23%

37%

22%

8%

Physical injury

23%

34%

20%

15%

Not understanding how to invest smartly

21%

35%

20%

7%

Have you ever taken out money from an IRA or 401(k) before the age of 59.5?

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

% Gen X (35–54)

27%

29%

34%

39%

37%

And which of the following do you find most helpful when it comes to saving for retirement?

 

 

Age

 

Total

25–34

35–54

55+

Using online tools to determine how much you need to save each month to retire the way you want to

40%

42%

46%

32%

Talking with an investment professional

38%

35%

33%

47%

The financial media (e.g., MarketWatch, CNBC, TheStreet)

34%

33%

33%

34%

Attending in-person seminars on smart investing

23%

25%

17%

26%

Watching online tutorials or videos on how to save for retirement

23%

32%

21%

15%

Other

2%

1%

3%

3%

I have used none of these

8%

8%

7%

11%

I have found none of these helpful

6%

4%

5%

8%

“Millennials” defined as age 2534 // “Gen X” defined as age 35–54 //
“Baby Boomer” defined as age 55+

About E*TRADE Financial and Important Notices

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Automatic investing and dollar-cost averaging do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. Investors should consider their financial ability to continue their purchases through periods of low price levels.

E*TRADE Financial and its subsidiaries provide financial services including brokerage and banking products and services to retail customers. Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC). Commodity futures and options on futures products and services are offered by E*TRADE Futures LLC (Member NFA). Managed Account Solutions are offered through E*TRADE Capital Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Bank products and services are offered by E*TRADE Bank, and RIA custody solutions are offered by E*TRADE Savings Bank, both of which are national federal savings banks (Members FDIC). More information is available at www.etrade.com.

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