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Gen Z Workers are more Ambitious About Retirement

Gen Z Workers are more Ambitious About Retirement

December 20, 2023

According to a new survey, many Gen Z workers expect to retire when they are 61, despite 99% of Gen Z respondents saying they face obstacles to saving for a comfortable retirement. Another stat from the survey - 75% of Gen Z workers are comfortable turning to AI for financial help. 


According to a new survey from Charles Schwab, younger workers are setting their sights on younger retirement ages.

Most workers want to maximize their savings and 401(k) plans in hopes of retiring as early as possible and having a comfortable, financial-worry-free life after saying goodbye to their jobs. But when it comes to retirement hopes, Gen Z workers are more ambitious than older generations, according to a new report from Charles Schwab.

The financial services company recently published its 2023 401(k) Participant Study about workers’ expectations and worries regarding their retirement. It found that when it comes to retirement age, expectations are particularly high for Gen Z workers. Though participants are delaying their retirement by two years on average, Gen Z workers said they expect to retire at age 61—years earlier than other generations.

To put that into context, baby boomers, who have the most experience with the financial ups and downs of life, said they expect to retire at 68, a full seven years later than Gen Z workers expect to. Millennials said they expect to retire at 64 and Gen X workers said they expected to retire at 65.

Yet despite being the generation that expects to retire the earliest, 99% of Gen Z respondents admitted they face obstacles to saving for a comfortable retirement. They’re not alone: 88% of millennials, 91% of Gen X, and 86% of boomers also said they face obstacles.

Among the most common obstacles Gen Z workers reported were inflation (54%), keeping up with expenses (36%), unexpected expenses (31%), and helping aging parents financially (30%).

Despite these worries about a comfortable retirement, 86% of Gen Z workers reported that they would be willing to forgo an increase in salary in return for better benefits. And 76% of Gen Z workers said they would forgo an increase in salary in exchange for a more flexible work arrangement.

Gen Z workers also came in tops, at 62%, when admitting that they thought their financial situation warranted professional advice. And when it comes to financial planning, a whopping 75% of Gen Z workers said they are comfortable with turning to AI tools to help them with financial planning. Just 25% of boomers, 48% of Gen X, and 66% of millennials said the same.


The 2023 401(k) Participant Study was conducted by Logica Research between April 19 and May 2, 2023. One thousand 401(k) plan participants, aged 21-70, completed the survey, plus an additional 100 Gen Z workers aged 21-26.