An estimated 50 million strong, Generation Xers have grappled with an identity crisis.
A new MetLife study finds Generation Xers in transition.
An estimated 50 million strong, Generation Xers have grappled with an identity crisis. The so-called MTV generation was disparaged as a group for being immature slackers with cynical attitudes and a lack of a clear identity. Their ethos, at least as far as the media was concerned, was best expressed in the generation-defining Nirvana song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: “Here we are now/Entertain us.” More positive portrayals of Generation Xers depict them as independent, non-comformist, well educated and technology proficient.
Now, Generation Xers, ranging in age from 36 to 47, are entering into a new life state that the MetLife survey terms “emerging adulthood.” Survey finding belie familiar media raps against them.
Nearly two-thirds of Generation Xers are currently working full-time, with about as many of their spouses or partners also working, the survey found. Only about two-in-five reported working in the career they intended when they entered the workforce, while almost one-fourth said they have been with the same employer for 15 years or longer.
Half of those surveyed report being behind on retirement savings, which accounts for their concern that they will not be able to retire until they are 67, instead of the average age of 62 as planned.
Related story: Reality bites for Generation X. Click here to read more.
Generation Xers’ identity crisis extends to how they relate to the Generation X label. Less than half (41 percent) do, while more than one-fourth (28 percent) said they identify more with baby boomers. Tellingly, they are also conflicted on the defining characteristic of their generation. The two top most common that respondents cited were hard work (8 percent) and lazy (5 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.