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High Anxiety: New York’s Gen X and Boomers Struggle with Stress, Savings and Security

With disappearing pensions, increasing longevity, a culture of spending versus saving and most recently the impact of the Great Recession on wealth and security – the very way that Americans retire is changing. While Boomers are at the forefront of this evolution, Gen X is the first generation that will fully come into retirement age with a new playbook, having lived the entirety of their working years during the rise of 401k plans and a shift away from traditional pension plans.

Learn:  Find more reports from AARP Research

In 2015, Generation X begins turning 50.  AARP surveyed voters across the state of New York aged 35 to 69 – Generation X and Baby Boomers together – to understand how prepared they feel for their financial future.  Survey results reveal that New York’s Gen X voters are even more anxious about retirement than their pre-retiree Boomer counterparts. Large shares of both generations worry if they can afford to retire and consider leaving New York in the future.  Key findings from the survey are discussed in our report series entitled High Anxiety: Gen X and Boomers Struggle with Stress, Savings and Security.

The statewide report was released on May 20, 2015. Seven additional releases for select counties or regions in New York, in addition to New York City Hispanic Voter reports, will be made available throughout the summer and fall of 2015:

High Anxiety in New York State – Now Available!
High Anxiety in New York City – Now Available!
High Anxiety in Erie County – Now Available!
High Anxiety in Monroe County – Now Available!
High Anxiety in Onondaga County – Now Available!
High Anxiety in the Capital Region – Now Available!
High Anxiety in Dutchess County – Now Available!
High Anxiety in NYC African American and Black Voters – Now Available!
High Anxiety in Long Island – Now Available!
High Anxiety in NYC Hispanic Voters – Now Available!
High Anxiety in NYC Asian Voters – Now Available!

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • The top personal finance concerns for both Gen X and Boomer voters are not saving enough; and not preparing enough for retirement.
  • In both cohorts, a majority feels anxious about being able to have a comfortable retirement if they are able to retire at all.
  • Significant numbers of New York Gen Xers and Boomers do not have access to retirement savings plans at work and are not contributing to any retirement savings account.
  • Gen X workers have significantly lower expectations of Social Security than Boomers.
  • Paying for education and student loan debt are barriers to retirement saving, especially for Gen X.
  • Gen Xers indicate even stronger likelihood than Boomers to leave New York during retirement.
  • There is widespread voter support to improve access to workplace retirement plans with a state-facilitated savings option.

The AARP 2015 New York State Gen X and Boomer Survey was conducted as a telephone survey among registered voters age 35 to 69 in the state of New York. The survey collected the opinions of New York registered voters on issues related to financial worries and retirement security. The survey was approximately 15 minutes in length. The interviews were conducted in English by Precision Opinion from February 26th to May 17th, 2015. Respondents were sampled from a voter list with approximately 800 interviews completed in each of the sampled geographies. In New York City, additional oversamples were conducted among African American, Hispanic and Asian American & Pacific Islander voters. Each sample was stratified by age: 35 to 50 year old voters (“Gen X”) and 51 to 69 year old voters (“Boomer”).  For more information, contact Angela Houghton at

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