Looking for ways to increase your book of business outside of the baby boomer demographic? It turns out you don’t have to look very far.

You probably work with members of Generation X, play sports with them, perhaps even advise their parents and grandparents. They’re over 8-million strong — 1 out of every 5 Canadians.1 As well, approximately 2-million Gen Xers have investable assets between $100,000 and $500,000.2 Approaching them about their insurance, investments and financial planning makes good business sense — Gen Xers are at the front end of their prime income-earning years. Some are now sharply focused on long-term financial goals.

You may have heard or seen slacker, anti-establishment clichés connected to Gen X in their earlier years. Don’t believe them today! These Canadians are entering middle age with big plans for their financial future.

Need your help to get there from here

We’ve compiled a Special Report on Gen Xers based on insights from the 2015 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index. (Age ranges vary for the Gen X demographic, but this report defines the cohort as 31 to 47 years old.) Simply put, the report presents findings that show Gen X equals opportunities. For example, right now, just 27% of Gen Xers work with an advisor, well below the 41% of boomers who say the same. And it shows:


  • 81% don’t have a written financial plan.
  • 45% say they lack sufficient knowledge about how much retirement income they will need.
  • 37% say they lack sufficient knowledge about how taxes will affect their retirement savings.
  • One-third say they need help with how to select investments and what types of investments they should be choosing.

Their answers to a range of questions also show Gen Xers are well short of their retirement goals. Those who fall into the segment’s mid-market (with investable assets between $100,000 and $500,000) are in better shape than most. Despite their income levels, and in many cases considerable savings, Canadians in the Gen X demographic will struggle to achieve their long-term financial goals without the benefit of your advice and a written financial plan.

Remember that these Canadians have experienced significant economic events since they began to pay attention to financial matters in the second half of the 1990s, witnessing and learning about:

  • the currency crises, in real time, in Asia and then Russia,
  • the global technology bubble, which inflated, then popped,
  • capital markets shivering after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and
  • an extended period of rising share prices that came crashing down in 2008.

These events have made many Gen X investors money-smart and reluctant to buying riskier investments. As Gen Xers begin to think hard about the achievability of their retirement goals, they recognize better than most the benefits of working with professionals — like you.

Sun Life Financial has created infographics that make the numbers into meaningful stories you can show Gen X — as well as boomer — clients:

The numbers in the infographics and Special Report generally tell a story of a generation in need of financial advice.

  • For strategies to turn Gen X insights and opportunities into actions, contact a member of your Sun Life Sales Team.
  • For more information on the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index, or any of the information presented in this report, please contact the author, Kevin Press, or visit the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index.
  • Also see Insight to opportunity for more ideas about how to understand market and consumer behaviours better, so that you can anticipate your clients’ needs and help them plan to achieve their financial goals.

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1 Estimates of population, by age group and sex for July1, Canada provinces and territories, Table 051-0001, Statistics Canada, 2014.

2 2015 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index.