Supply side econ destroyed Gen X and Boomers retirement plans

The stats are very similar for the Boomers.

Gen X has a bit more hope because we have left supply side economics behind. We still have the completely misdirected liars. People who have wracked up $32 trillion in debt and blamed the poor. Horrible people.

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The age of Gen X is 43 to 58.

The average net worth of someone younger than 35 years old is $76,300, as of 2019. From there, average net worth steadily rises within each age bracket. Between 35 to 44, the average net worth is $436,200, while between 45 to 54 that number increases to $833,200. Average net worth cracks the $1 million mark between 55 to 64, reaching $1,175,900.


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You have not changed anything with that.

Take out the top 20% and you have next to nothing as an average.


In other “news”: half of people are below average, and my favorite screaming headline last winter “200 million people impacted by winter weather”. The Shiny media in action: hype and hysteria. Just as valid as the statement by a pol that half of people pay no income tax.

I submit that “just over half” of the X cohort not having squat to retire on is entirely consistent with the 40% of their elders who have no retirement income, other than Social Security.


@steve203 That reminds me of a somewhat heated argument/discussion I had years ago (probably here on MF). It was a discussion of living wages and such, and someone mentioned that half the people earn median wage or lower. Then later in the thread I mentioned that median wage was $31k or something like that (at the time). And they replied sharply that $31k is not really enough to live on properly, and nobody should be paid less than median wage, it’s inhuman.


Lack of independent thought permeates Shiny-land. I have been in a discussion in a Naval history group on FB (warning, specialized knowledge follows), contending if Japan had not built the Yamato class so extravagantly in excess of treaty limits, the US would never have built the Iowa class. One of the people pushing back seems to be arguing that the US built the Iowas without any impetus, abrogating the treaty on it’s own, but restrained itself so as not to trigger a size race. That is hogwash on so many levels I don’t even want to start addressing it. And the guy claims to be a guide on one of the battleships that has been preserved as a museum. He may be a guide, but he has no understanding of the Second London Treaty.

Then there was the howler from a supposed “historian” lecturing at a museum, that (more specialized knowledge) Wayne County intended to tax every B-24 that rolled out of the Ford-run plant at Willow Run. I didn’t call the guy out, let him continue spewing hogwash. Facts: Wayne County could not tax the B-24s because the plant, everything in it, and everything that came out of it, was property of the US government, and the Federal government did not pay state or local taxes. I read the original contract, it’s in the Federal Register.



It wont be true at all for the Millennials or Z gen. There are three major costs, education for your children, healthcare for your family and your retirement. Boomers and X’s ruined themselves not making much of it universal. Both Millennials and Zs each are about the size of the boomer generation. Things are going to be made universal.

So if 50% are below average…the 50% that are more users of the lower 50%…should read other 80% …wont walk off with as much unearned stuff.

No one likes to hear you never earned it. If you have it magic you must have earned it. Sheesh! I have seen the boomers up close.

No one likes to hear the next guy should be paid more. If you are cheap it wont last in the nursing home. The boomers and the Xers they have ruined with them will pay.

The Millennials and Z’s have the last word on this.

Is that because Z is the last letter of the alphabet? What about Generation Alpha?


It is worth noting that these were the first two demographic cohorts that went from largely defined benefit retirement plans to defined contribution plans.


My parents were that way, but also had Whole Life insurance policies, which are not popular today for retirement planning.

But these surveys probably also cannot find all the retirement plans that belong to a particular person. I’m a year into my new job, so at 56 my 401k balance looks AWFUL. But that is because 97% of my retirement money is in another account. So how do these surveys get an accurate picture?

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And it’s good that they did. Can you imagine if they had defined benefit retirement plans and switched jobs every 4 1/2 years??? They’d have even less than they have today for retirement!

May I ask a question here. The mention of whole life insurance rang a bell. I try to explain retirement saving etc s to people all the time but don’t have a lot of direct life insurance experience.

My understanding is, Whole Life or Universal Life policies are structured such that:

  1. They “pay off” ie pay you pack the amount of the policy if you haven’t died in the mean time after 20 or 30 years or whatever the contract was for.
  2. After a certain amount of time the policy itself throws off enough investment returns to pay the premiums for you and you can actually stop paying into it.
  3. When the policy is “due” or whatever its called, it can be converted into an annuity which is a private, non-cola’d pension

How much of that did I get right?

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You have a lot correct, but I admit I know little about them. I never got one for me, and my dad admitted its an investment vehicle of an earlier time. I’ve had one pension in my life (Texas Instruments) which I rolled-over into an IRA when I left in '96 (I did not want to have to track it down at retirement!).

My fear when I was younger was that the same thing would hit me eventually, that the retirement savings plans that made sense to me were no longer a good idea when I got near retirement. That’s what happened to Boomers to some extent. They relied on pensions and life insurance to fund retirement. Fortunately, it appears the IRA and 401k route is still in-vogue. 10 more years, unless company stock and RSU’s do super-good for me, then maybe 4 or 5. :slight_smile:


Averages are terrible to use for something like this. A few very wealthy people will skew the average way up.

Median is a much better statistic to look at for something like net worth.

The article itself points this out. It states that the average net worth of an American family in 2019 is almost $749K. But the median net worth is just $122k.

They then go on to give figures for the average net worth by age bracket, when the median net worth would be far more informative.

It’s almost as if the writer of the article doesn’t really understand what they’re writing about.




thank you for emphasazing whenever necessary that these conversations are, well, stupid, unless the Statistics, e.g. mean or median or mode, we use are appropriate and appropriately interpreted.

And It Reallt Matters.

david fb


Thank you. I was pretty sure from what people I know who have these instruments have told me. Anyway my point was just that there are ways most young people can get out in front of all this, even if they don’t have a big paycheck. Even if they don’t have one of those precious, precious, STEM degrees. They can also, simply buy into an annuity bypassing the life insurance part all together.
Why do they not make people aware of these things and lean simply on the fetishizing of “the stock market”, mutual funds, etc etc? And as we know most people don’t really understand their 401Ks anyway.

A working lifetime is approximately 35 years. Maybe a bit less with some good, or bad luck. There is plenty of time for even the most economically modest to save and let it grow, one way or another. In 35 years you almost can’t help but win.

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What matters gets to the motivation of the writer and/or the publisher.

Is this kind of error an error made out of ignorance? Or is it a deliberate attempt to put a spin on the information?

The same question applies to those who spread this kind of poor information on things like public discussion boards. Is it ignorance or spin?



You’re ability to save for retirement is highly dependent on your “skim rate”. Wall Street’s business model requires them to skim 2% per year from the average customer. If you can hold on to most of that 2% skim by holding low-fee index funds, you only need to save about half as much money for retirement. For every customer who has found his way to low-fee index funds, Wall Street needs to find someone who is bad at arithmetic who will buy a high-fee annuity or invest in a hedge fund. There’s no shortage of customers.

It’s no coincidence that the Thrift Saving Plan for Federal Employees has an expense ratio of about 6 basis points (i.e. 0.06%)

If your for-profit, private employer is offering higher expense ratios in your 401k, you’re getting screwed.



You missed two important points, the “annual mortality charge” and the rate of return (which tends to be a lot lower than the S&P 500) on your “investment” in a whole life policy. There’s lots of hidden skim in the insurance industry.

That’s why the best bet is to buy a term-life policy and invest the savings in a low-fee index fund. That gives the life insurance company a smaller pool of money to skim from.

(reducing his skim rate since 1974)


I didn’t miss anything. That wasn’t the topic of conversation.