Gen Xers losing sleep because of money concerns

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Gen Xers are having trouble sleeping nights because of money worries, according to results of a new survey released Wednesday.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Gen Xers are concerned about financing their retirement and one in three is worried they're not earning enough money to be able to invest for the future, said the survey by American Funds, a family of mutual funds from Capital Group, one of the world's leading investment management firms.

"After experiencing the dot-com bust, the global financial crisis and the housing collapse, as well as stagnant wage growth during their formative adult years, Gen Xers — or Generation AnXious — are wary about their financial future," said Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group. "Perhaps because of these concerns, Gen Xers long to do better than the average market and say actively managed funds can help them reach these goals."

While investors across all three generations believe it is important to strive for superior results – and to limit losses during market downturns — the survey identified a low level of awareness about the downside risks of index funds.

"Every generation is interested in achieving better investment outcomes over time and limiting losses in market downturns, combined with low fees," said Lord. "But each generation has blind spots around index funds, which experience the full downside of market drops. Baby Boomers, especially, are unaware of those risks – and they're the ones with less time to rebuild their nest eggs from a market downturn."

Wisdom of Experience: Lessons Learned From Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer Investors surveyed over 1,200 U.S. adults, focusing on Millennials (21-36 years old), Generation X (37-51 years old) and Baby Boomers (52-70 years old), to understand their perspectives on a range of investing and retirement issues.

Key findings include:

Don't Settle for Average: Results, Fees and Blind Spots

All three generations understand that a well-designed portfolio can do better than average, but most don't know what to look for when trying to identify funds that can deliver long-term, above-average market results.

That said, 64 percent of investors said they would feel more comfortable investing in a fund where a significant amount of the manager's own money is invested alongside them, and most agree that such funds are more likely to do well for investors.

Age and Gender Matter: Contrasting Outlooks on Markets and Retirement

Boomers have the lowest expectations about future market returns, but they have the most optimistic outlook on their retirement. For Millennials and Gen Xers, it's the opposite – they are more bullish about the market, but less so about their own retirement.

Also, within each demographic, gender expectations differ: Men are a lot more optimistic than women about the investment outlook in the next 10 years, while women have a more positive outlook than men when it comes to the next two or three decades.

Life's Lessons: Generational Habits Shaped by Experience
Each generation has taken the need to start saving early more seriously. Fifty-nine percent of Millennials began saving for retirement before age 25, compared to 42 percent of Gen Xers and 28 percent of Boomers. And a quarter of Millennials believe children born today should start saving for retirement even before their 18th birthday.

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