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Gen Z thinking about retirement

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Posted: 7 am ET

Does money -- or lack of it -- worry your grandchildren?

Gen Z -- born between 1990 and 1999 -- told TD Ameritrade in a recent survey that paying for college concerned them the most. Some 46 percent were worried about college loan debt, and 36 percent fear they won't be able to pay for college at all.

With the cost of college having risen nearly 1,200 percent over the last 35 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, concerns about the cost of college are totally understandable.

Gen Z kids appear to have a realistic grip on the problem. About 70 percent said that if they were given $500, they would save at least part of it, and 46 percent say they plan to pay for college themselves by working, getting grants, etc.

Grandparents can help out by opening a college savings account on their grandchildren's behalf.

They can give another generous gift by helping their grandchildren start saving for retirement. While retirement may seem too far in advance to worry about, those in Gen Z are already considering it -- and they aren't optimistic.

They told TD Ameritrade that although -- on average -- they plan to start saving for retirement at age 28, 31 percent don't think they'll be able to put aside enough money to retire and 39 percent don't believe they'll be able to count on Social Security.

Sitting down with grandchildren and talking about retirement planning is another helpful thing grandparents can do, says Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services at TD Ameritrade. Boomers told Ameritrade in a different survey that they didn't start saving for retirement until they were 32, but if they had it to do over, they would have begun at age 24. Sharing that message could motivate grandchildren to start early.

"This generation is very practical and the way they are looking at things makes a lot of sense," Braxdale says. "It's great when grandparents can be part of the solution."

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1 Comment
July 06, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Dear Jennie,
I just now ( couple years late!) saw your article on SS planning where you offered service to help with planning. I am not so smart at financial stuff but worked double jobs for most my life. My ex husband was on SSDI for 1800 a month, when he died, April 2013. We were married for 14 years and I never remarried. I raised 3 children a year working as an RN , 60-80 hrs a week. This damaged my health. I am 59 and have been turned down for SSDI as they are going broke soon and despite my very bad heart with 4 stents, diabetes and other problems, taking 16 pills a day. I am still pursuing SSDI, but was told unless there is a guarantee of death in 6 months I will not get it. Anyway I want to know if I take survivor benefits in August 2014, I will be 60 and 3 months with a benefit of approx 1306, 72.6 percent of my ex, 1800 SSDI benefit, he was on when he died, he was 59. Can I then let my SS grow till I am 66 then collect my full benefit, or even wait till 70, if my health does not get worse? Or are my benefits permanently reduced because I took reduced survivor benefits? Please help! Thank you!!!