Retirement Is Out Of Reach for Gen Z…Or Is It?

GenZ woman looking at financial, career, family, and travel goals.

Being a woman in her 20s is crazy enough, but now in order to retire comfortably, I have to become a finance guru on top of it all? Is a comfortable retirement just completely out of reach for someone like me? How can someone just starting their career generate enough for a comfortable retirement with limited access to basic retirement resources and references?

As a recent college graduate, being in my twenties has taught me a lot about finances for right now, but what about the future I want after I retire? Having grown up in a household with people who worked in the finance industry, you might think I would have a pretty solid grasp on how to generate wealth for myself and understand how to create a successful future. Despite hearing finance lingo since I was a child, however, I still struggle with understanding what path will lead me to be able to retire and live comfortably after I stop working.

It’s no secret that the current retirement systems are underperforming for many Americans. Retirement used to be a foreseeable goal and something many Americans used as motivation for working so hard; finally the time to travel, relax, enjoy time with family and do what you want with your days. Sadly, however, this once achievable goal seems to be becoming more unattainable for many Americans.

Is it a matter of saving and budgeting my income? Investing? A combination of both? Or a different strategy completely? How can I set myself up for a successful future without having generous amounts of excess capital to be able to consult help on doing so? At my age, it’s important to understand what my options are.

The Numbers

According to CNBC, the average annual income for Generation Z, is about $32,500.00, or $2,708.33 per month before taxes. Between paying for rent, gas, student loans, groceries, and any other expenses this does not leave a whole lot of excess money to set aside for a stable financial future, especially with a rise in inflation. In fact, CNBC reports that the typical American in 2021 spent about $3,900 per month on living expenses; that’s more money spent than the average twenty-somethings make in an entire month.

We spend so much time investing in our careers, but where are the resources to be able to invest in ourselves and create a better future for ourselves?

Many Americans just like me are struggling to be able to save enough to retire with confidence. In fact, according to CNBC, after an average of 30 years of working, saving and investing, Americans aged 56-61 had accrued an average of $21,000 in their 401k accounts. If the average American maintains the same spending habits, that would finance just over five years of life. I don’t know about you, but I hope to soak up the sweet life for way longer than five years after I retire.

So how can people begin to create a more comfortable future for themselves?

The Options

Every person will have to retire at some point and whether you are prepared or not depends heavily on the access you have to resources to be able to do so successfully.

One option to help generate retirement finances is to consider the 401k plan. While this system has been sought-after, there are still a few flaws stopping the average person from being able to retire comfortably.

The first flaw of the system lies in access to these basic 401k plans. As more employers begin to move away from pensions, 401k plans have been curated to serve as a supplement. However, even these basic plans are not always accessible for the average American. In fact, nearly 40 million private-sector employees are not even able to access these types of plans through their employer. Many employees experience this lack of access because they either work part-time or have not been with their company for long enough to qualify, thus postponing the 401k contribution possibilities until they become accessible.

As a young woman just beginning her career, this is a bit of a wake up call. How can I start to create a retirement fund at a young age if I do not qualify for or have access to basic retirement plans from the get-go?

In addition, while this system is designed to allow you to make contributions to your future, these contributions are often out of reach for someone who is just beginning a career. The maximum contribution someone is able to invest in their 401k plan for 2022 annually is $20,500. Considering the 401k investment maximum amounts for almost 60% (or more) of their average income before taxes, not many young generations are financially able to invest nearly that much. And when you don’t have the extra means to invest, the possibility of retirement seems to become that much further out of reach.

The weight, thus, falls back on the individual to understand how to generate a successful, stable retirement plan.

But who can the average American turn to when they need assistance with creating a successful future for themselves?

Another option is learning how to invest your money to generate returns, but it takes a great deal of time and research to be able to understand how and what to invest in.

And the reality is that many Americans don’t have a lot of extra time, money or access to knowledge to be able to invest to grow our retirement plans. And when it comes to asking for help, many companies are reserved for the upper-class individuals that already have extra money to invest and work with.

What Can I Do?

In the busy life of a Gen Z-er, time and financial stability are two major factors that play a key role in our future. Investing in ourselves and our futures should be at the forefront of our priorities, and the resources to be able to do so should be readily accessible.

In my search for what options are available to help me retire more comfortably, my interest was piqued by an emerging platform called Echo Trade, in which any person is able to “echo” the activities of some of the leading investors in the finance industry. Echo Trade is designed to break down the barrier to retirement resources and references that have been inaccessible for so many middle-class Americans.

One of the main purposes of Echo Trade is to generate returns so that you can reinvest and build wealth like the professionals do. By creating a transparent barrier to those professionals, Average Joes, like me, have better access to financial resources that never would have been possible before.

Additionally, instead of putting the fate of your future in the hands of another person, you are put in complete control of who you want to “echo,” and you can change it in the blink of an eye if you decide it’s not the right fit for you. For us Gen Z-ers who can occasionally struggle with decision-making and commitment this sounds heavenly!

For someone like me to be able to consult some of the top investing executives in the industry could mean the difference between retiring in bliss and retiring in financial blues; and the best part is, you don’t have to spend loads of extra precious time or money to be able to access such valuable resources.

Echo Trade is breaking through the ceiling that separates top financial resources from middle-class Americans, and in our world, time and access can help you create the life you always dreamed of after retirement. Your life after retirement shouldn’t have to suffer as a consequence of limited financial access.

Navigating life in your 20s can be stressful for a lot of reasons, but finding the right tools to aid you during these valuable years can decrease these feelings immensely. Although a successful future may seem untouchable, platforms like Echo Trade can bring us that much closer to our dream life. Retirement doesn’t have to stay out of reach for us, now that the professionals are there to lend a helping hand.


About the Author:

Sydney is a recent college graduate and entrepreneur who founded SeedsGoods, a nature-inspired jewelry and apparel brand out of Southern California. The SeedsGoods brand reflects on growth, new beginnings, and opportunity – and Sydney’s hope is that others in her generation feel likewise about their future.