The financial challenges characterizing baby boomers, generation X and millennials are taking a stronger hold on each generation, according to the second annual generational study on employee financial issues by Financial Finesse. The independent group based in El Segundo, Calif., found that baby boomers represent the “most immediate economic threat,” Gen X will face the most significant financial challenges overall and millennials are not engaged in retirement planning.

With baby boomers, aged 55-64, 51% of employee respondents had not yet run a retirement plan estimate and only 22% have purchased long-term care coverage. “Success in retirement is not only about how much you accumulate, but how you manage your assets that you do accumulate so that they last a lifetime,” says Liz Davidson, CEO of Financial Finesse. “Without proper planning, boomers put their retirement security in jeopardy.” She adds that this group is of the biggest economic concern to their families and the federal government because they’re so close to retirement and the average cost of a nursing home is more than $50,000 a year.

While these boomers are the most immediate threat, they’re not the biggest. “When you factor in everything that we know right now, Gen Xers face the biggest obstacles,” she says. This generation is behind both baby boomers and millennials in terms of cash management and also behind in retirement planning. Financial Finesse labels this group the highest concern because they are expected to receive about 25% less in Social Security than baby boomers and have less time to save on their own than millennials. They also have the hardest time saving for future emergencies than any other group. Gen Xers are labeled in the study as age 30-44 and are more likely to be married, have children and own a home than millennials.

While millennials have yet to face certain pressures, they have fared better in terms of cash management than Gen Xers. “They came of age during the Great Recession, so they are aware of what it’s like to struggle financially and have a desire to avoid that fate,” Davidson explains. However, 71% of respondents reported that they haven’t run a retirement plan estimate, which Financial Finesse says is “concerning.”

The research was compiled from 23,749 employees across these generations. Davidson’s conclusion about how this research impacts plan sponsors: “One-size-fits-all is no longer sustainable in terms of financial education and benefits communication.”

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