Early Boomers’ Retirement Security Unparalleled by Younger Generations

The Great Recession of 2007 impacted the wealth and savings of most baby boomers entering retirement, but many managed to maintain the financial security necessary to retire. 

Older boomers may be the last generation on track to retire with enough savings and assets to maintain financial security through their golden years, according to a report from Pew Research

Early baby boomers born between 1946-1955 were approaching retirement with higher median wealths than the cohorts before them. 


By the time they were in their 50s to 60s, early boomers had just over $241,000 in median wealth. By comparison, war babies (1936-1945) had $162,222 at the same ages. 

Benefitting from both the dot-com boom and the housing bubble, early boomers experienced an 83% growth in total assets between their 40s/50s and 50s/60s, according to Pew’s data. 

The success of early boomers to maintain their net worth improved compared to younger generations.


The youngest group, Gen-Xers (1966-1975) experienced the largest declines in median net worth, losing 45% of their wealth from 2007-2010. 

During this period, early boomers managed to lost only 28% of their net median wealth, whereas late boomers (1956-1965) lost 25%, respectively.

When it comes to financial net worth—that is, including savings, 401(k)s, pensions and individual retirement accounts—early boomers saw their retirement savings grow 251% to more than $75,000 during 1989-2007.

Early boomers had more financial net worth than all other generations, suggesting stronger retirement security than younger generations. 

“Despite strong gains in financial net worth, the youngest cohorts are less prepared for retirement than previous cohorts were at the same age,” writes Pew. 

Additionally, early boomers were able to recoup more of their preretirement income than younger age groups.

By the time of their retirement, early boomers on average had accumulated enough wealth to replace 82% of their preretirement income, whereas late boomers regained 59% and Gen-Xers acquired 50%. 

“The evidence strongly suggests that early boomers may be the last generation on track to exceed the wealth of the cohorts that came before them and to enjoy a secure retirement,” writes Pew.

Written by Jason Oliva