Money Matters – Generation X: Who Are They??
BOSTON (CBS) – We did a series on Boomers last month. Now let’s look at their kids, the X Generation.
So often people confuse this demographic group with anyone just getting out of college. But I found that depending on my research they were born between 1961 and 1983. But the Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 so I am thinking that the first Gen Xer was born after 1964. There are 46 plus million Gen Xers.
Most Gen Xers are better educated than their parents according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Gen Xers have the highest education levels of any age group
They often earn more money than their parents and know more about money than their parents. But that doesn’t mean they are much better at managing their money than previous generations.
This generation was brought up privileged. They have expensive tastes, grew up having a room of their own, maybe even a TV, computer and a phone in their room. They had nice stuff and when they got out on their own they wanted the life style they had left at home.
That lifestyle comes with a price, a high price. Their retirement savings in many instances is nonexistent. Many are homeowners because of that wonderful period of easy credit and low interest rates. But that easy credit is a big problem. Many have a debt level of 50% and higher. The loss of a job or a major illness could derail them very quickly.
Gen-Xers need to get serious about debt reduction. Where and how are you spending your money? Do a cash flow statement. Pay off the credit cards and the school loans.
What can you cut back on? How many meals do you eat out? If you are going out 3 nights a week cut it back to one. Eating out includes take-out that you eat at home. Cook dinner at home more often. Pack your lunches. Carpool to work. Mow your own lawn, it’s good exercise.
Stash some cash in your rainy day fund. This is your 911 fund! Your emergency fund. You want at least a couple months of living expenses to help you through the rocky times that will occur.
Retirement planning is critical for this age group. The years between your 22nd and 40th birthdays are key years for retirement planning. It allows the money you stashed away to work for you for many years. Yet a recent study revealed that less than 50% of Twentysomethings use their 401(k) plans.
One more thing: Gen-Xers got their name from a book by Doug Coupland entitled, Generation X, where life is stuck in 1974.