Gen Xers have six times more debt than their parents did and “may remain more financial fragile and disadvantaged then the previous generation as they move closer to retirement.”
Are Gen Xers doomed to miss out on one of the tenets of the American Dream?
Generation X—Americans born between 1965 and 1980—lost nearly half their wealth during the Great Recession, a new Pew Charitable Trusts report states. Thus, while they may have higher family incomes than their parents did at the same ages, only one-third have higher wealth.
Between falling housing values and rising unemployment rates, Gen Xers have six times more debt than their parents did and “may remain more financial fragile and disadvantaged then the previous generation as they move closer to retirement,” .the report, “A New Financial Reality,” states,
Four-in-ten of Gen Xers in their 40s define the American Dream as the opportunity for future generations to do better than the current generation, a recent Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner survey of Affluent households. On this score, many are feeling left behind.
Just over one-third (36 percent) of Gen Xers have more wealth than their parents, but the wealth outcomes differ significantly when looking at where on the wealth ladder they were raised, the report finds. Among those raised at the bottom, two-thirds exceed the wealth and home equity of their own parents, but fewer than 3-in-10 of those raised at the middle and higher rungs have more assets than their parents held at the same age.
Debt is a formidable obstacle for Gen X households. Four-in-ten upwardly income mobile Gen Xers with college degrees hold student loan debt of about $25,000 on average.
Six-in-ten Gen Xes rank maintaining their current financial position as their primary personal concern, according to a 2014 demographic study conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. They are less likely than previous generations to expect to have sufficient income to live comfortably during retirement (62 percent vs. 70 percent of Baby Boomers and 82 percent of the WWII generation.
Looking ahead to that next generation, a majority (53 percent) said they are most concerned about the financial situation of their children or grandchildren.
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.