Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers: How your generation can save for retirement

By Bryan Sommer
Nov 2, 2021
Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers: How your generation can save for retirement
Photo credit: AleksandarNakic/iStock/Getty Images

Meeting our needs and goals later in life depends in large part on successfully saving for retirement, but with approximately 70 percent of Canadians worried they won’t save enough for retirement and one third of Canadians having no retirement savings at all, it’s worth taking a look at strategies that can help us save for the day when we no longer have a work income.

Depending on your age, you will likely need to go about this differently than people who are older or younger than you. While everyone’s financial situation is unique, here are some strategies that can help you get on the right track.


Millennials (born 1981-1995) face some unique generational challenges.

  • They are generally well educated and may carry substantial student debt.
  • They may make less and spend more than those in previous decades.
  • They live in expensive cities and are delaying home and car ownership, marriage, and raising families.
  • They typically don’t have access to traditional employer-sponsored retirement plans.

All these challenges make it even more critical to create a habit of saving—whether it’s a little or a lot—sooner rather than later. Here are seven strategies to get millennials going.

Generation X

Gen Xers (1965-1980) have unique challenges when it comes to money:

  • They hold the highest consumer debt.
  • Their housing costs are high, especially in cities.
  • They were the hardest hit in the 2008 recession.
  • Many won’t have pensions.

Gen Xers are also the “sandwich” generation, caring for aging parents and for their children. Given this, they may be concerned about how they can save for retirement. Here are some strategies to help get this generation on the right track.

Baby boomers

Baby boomers are the generation that “had it all,” with unprecedented opportunities for upward mobility. This generation, born 1946-1964, are wealthier than previous generations, are more active and physically fit, and are the first generation to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They’ve also been criticized for increased consumerism. Now that boomers are getting ready to retire—or have already done so—many are not as prepared as they thought they would be.

Here are some tips to help baby boomers with their savings.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about how to successfully save for retirement, CPABC’s Financial Literacy Program offers free and unbiased financial literacy workshops. Email the CPABC FinLit team to find out about our financial literacy presentations geared to 48 different topics.

Bryan Sommer, CPA, CA, CFP, CIM, is a Portfolio Manager with CIBC Wood Gundy and holds the Chartered Professional Accountant designation.