Is Gen X in financial trouble?
Fifteen years ago, "Gen X" was a media catchphrase. You'll recall the media painted Gen X as a generally apathetic bunch. And quite a few were prone to wearing grungy clothes in the manner of Kurt Cobain.
Now the media -- particularly the financial media -- have turned their attention to the waves of Baby Boomers. (So many Boomers. So little time to sell life insurance and adult diapers!)
So what's happened to Gen X, the children of the Baby Boomers? The youngest are just crossing 30, and the oldest are in their mid-40s. What are their financial issues?
Here are three specific to Gen X.
1. Relax... Go Do It.
Just about now, Gen X is waking up to the fact that they've relaxed and not saved for the future. If you're a part of Gen X, you're heading into years that are typically the highest wage-earning. Make sure you set up a long-term savings plan now.
Time is still on your side. But you'll have to save more. You may be forced to rely on higher returns to live your current lifestyle (which could be risky) if you continue to relax and don't do it.
2. Reality Bites.
You've heard it: Social Security is likely to be long gone by the time Gen X would like to collect. So much for paying into it all these years! As with No. 1, Gen X is on its own when it comes to long-term financial security.
What to do?
Educate yourself. Start reading about financial topics.
Note: If you're a woman, this is doubly important because you're likely to outlive your man.
3. Papa Don't Preach.
Gen X's experiences in the workforce are different than those of the Baby Boomer generation. They change jobs more often, and have had less experience with major financial downturns. Many came of age in the Go-Go '90s.
Gen X has a larger debt burden and less job security than previous generations.
On the other hand, Gen X has new advantages. Two of those are greater mobility, and a global marketplace to sell goods and services thanks to the Internet revolution.
The logical response on the financial front is to keep skills up-to-date, maintain solid work relationships and prepare for the unexpected.
says of Gen X:
"55 million GenXers are vigorously taking up the mantle of financial and familial responsibility, yet they continue to question authority, prize individuality, and believe that 'nobody will take care of me but me.' Still smarting from the wave of divorce and downsizing that characterized their formative years, GenXers put a high premium on quality of life."
In trouble? Maybe not -- if you start making changes to your financial life now.