Generation X: Who Are They?

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(credit: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(credit: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – So often people confuse this demographic group with anyone just getting out of college. Gen Xers are the Boomers’ babies!

They were born between 1965 and 1980. They are the leaders of tomorrow, poised to take the reins in a few years. Yet the boomers still think of them as the kids.

There are 46 million Gen Xers. Most are better educated than their parents according to the U.S. Census Bureau. They have the highest education levels of any age group.

According to a white paper by Adayana, the core values and personality traits of this generation include self-reliance, work family balance, informality, individualism and they are quite skeptical. Because this generation grew up spending less time with their parents and saw them as workaholics, they became the independent, balance-desiring people they are today.

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, a TV, computer and a phone in their room. They had nice stuff and when they got out on their own, they wanted the lifestyle they had left at home. That lifestyle comes with a high price tag.

Their retirement savings in many instances is nonexistent. Retirement planning is critical for this age group. According to The Insured Retirement Institute, this age group has not done enough to plan for their retirement. Overall, many Gen Xers felt the sting of the recession, as 15% made early withdrawals from their 401(k) plans and 23% stopped contributing to their retirement accounts.

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.

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.

Gen Xers need to get serious about debt reduction. Where and how are you spending your money? 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. Pack your lunches. Carpool to work. Mow your own lawn, its good exercise.

One more thing:  Gen Xers got their name from a book by Doug Coupland entitled, Generation X, where life is stuck in 1974.

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