Oct. 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM ET
Generation X is getting more worried about retirement.
A survey released Monday shows that Americans aged 35 to 44 are now the most worried about financing their retirement, a stark turnaround from 2009, when people in that age group were among the least worried about money for retirement.
The survey, from Pew Social and Demographic Trends, appears to reflect the lasting impact of the long economic downturn: In general, people of all ages are more pessimistic about retirement than they were three years ago, the researchers found.
About 38 percent of the more than 2,500 people Pew surveyed said they are not that confident they have enough income and assets for retirement. That’s up from 25 percent in 2009, when the nation's economy officially came out of recession.
The Pew report found that 49 percent of those 35 to 44 were either not too or not at all confident that they would have enough money to live on in retirement, compared with just 20 percent who had that concern in 2009.
The Pew researchers said one reason the Gen-Xers may be feeling doubtful about retirement is that they are less likely to have retirement accounts. The percentage of people ages 35 to 44 who have a retirement account has fallen 9 percentage points between 2001 and 2010, to 52 percent, according to Pew's analysis of government data.
Gen X also may be feeling gloomy because they’ve lost so much wealth in recent years.
A Census Bureau study released a few months ago found that those in the 35-44 bracket experienced the biggest percent decline in median household net worth between 2005 and 2010.
Median net worth for those households declined 59 percent during that period, from $80,521 in 2005 to $33,200 in 2010. The figures are adjusted for 2010 dollars.
The Census Bureau report also found that 45- to 54-year-olds saw the biggest hit in terms of actual dollars lost during between 2005 and 2010.
People in that age group also are feeling much more pessimistic about retirement than they were three years ago, the Pew researchers found.
About 43 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds said they feeling less than confident about their chances of having enough to live on in retirement, compared with 33 percent who felt that way three years ago.
The most optimistic group were people over age 65, but even they have grown more antsy. About 28 percent of people who fall in the traditional retirement age window said they were not very confident of having enough retirement savings to live in, compared with 19 percent who felt that way three years ago.