In the News

WHAT THE DATA SAY: Gen Z banks on retiring early but not on Social Security

By: Ray Day


Ray Day 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from The Harris Poll, a Stagwell agency. More from The Harris Poll is available at this link.

Among the highlights of wave 137 (fielded Oct. 7-Oct. 9) in our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

  • JOB, COST-OF-LIVING WORRIES UP AGAIN: Today, 86% of Americans are concerned about the economy, inflation and jobs – moderating from last week. Yet worries about affording living expenses and losing a job are on the rise again.
    • 86% are concerned about the economy and inflation (down 4 points from last week)
    • 82% about a potential U.S. recession (down 4 points)
    • 81% about U.S. crime rates (down 1 point)
    • 73% about political divisiveness (down 1 point)
    • 73% about affording their living expenses (up 1 point)
    • 73% about the War on Ukraine (no change)
    • 57% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 2 points)
    • 48% about losing their jobs (up 3 points)
    • 47% about the Monkeypox outbreak (up 2 points)
  • GEN Z NOT BANKING ON SOCIAL SECURITY: Of the four generational groups currently in the working world, Gen Z is the least likely to depend on Social Security to fund their retirement – and the most likely to retire early. That’s according to the “Emerging From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Four Generations Prepare for Retirement” survey released this week with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
    • Gen Z workers (43%) are more likely than older generations to expect to retire before age 65 (versus 30% of all workers expecting to retire before age 65, 37% for Millennials, 24% for Gen X and 14% for Baby Boomers).
    • 67% of Gen Z workers are saving for retirement through employer-sponsored 401(k) or similar retirement plans or outside the workplace.
    • The median age at which Gen Z is starting to save – 19 years old – is much younger than the median starting age for Millennials (age 25), Gen X (30) and Boomers (35).
    • Among Gen Z and Millennials, 73% said they are concerned that Social Security will not be there when they are ready to retire.
    • That compares with 40% of Boomers who expect Social Security to be their primary source of retirement income.
    • Gen X workers have the least faith in Social Security, with 78% saying they are concerned that Social Security will not be there for them when they are ready to retire.
  • HIGH SCHOOLERS WANT MORE CAREER HELP: High school students across the country are frustrated with the lack of support they are receiving in preparing for a future career. Our survey with the Data Quality Campaign and Kentucky Student Voice Team found:
    • 54% say the pandemic has changed how they think about what they might do after graduation.
    • Only 35% say their school informed them of which postsecondary or career paths are available to them.
    • 80% of students agree they would feel more confident about their career path if they had better access to information to determine their options after graduation.
    • This lack of career preparation already is showing up in the workplace. Of Gen Z members who interned or started a job this past year, 49% say that they did not feel like their training and onboarding were done well.
    • 58% of interns also report feeling lost at work without anyone to reach for questions and support.
  • LESS THAN HALF OF VOTING AMERICA WATCHES TRADITIONAL TV: When it comes to reaching Americans this election season, less than half of voters (49%) have a traditional TV, according to a new HarrisX survey with Samba TV.
    • 1 in 4 of those who do still have traditional TV plan to cancel in the next six months.
    • Independents (42%) are the least likely to have traditional TVs.
    • Millennial and Gen Z voters are more than twice as likely to stream than they are to have a traditional linear subscriptions today. The gap is even wider for younger voters in battleground states.
    • Facebook remains the most used platform by registered voters nationally but has less of an impact in key battleground states.
    • Democrat voters are significantly more likely to use TikTok than Republicans nationally –with 37% of Democratic voters using it weekly compared with 27% of Republican voters.
  • MANY WOMEN STILL MISS DEADLY BREAST CANCER SIGNS: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and most women are unaware of the unusual symptoms of a particularly aggressive and deadly form of the disease, according to our survey with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
    • The good news: 78% of women recognize a lump in the breast as a sign of breast cancer.
    • However, less than half of women would flag redness of the breast (44%), pitting/thickening of the skin (44%) or one breast feeling warmer or heavier than the other (34%) as possible symptoms of breast cancer – specifically the rare and highly aggressive form of the disease known as inflammatory breast cancer.
  • ICYMI: In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.



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