15 Signs You’re Doing Better Financially Than the Average Gen Xer

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Check off these 15 signs that prove you're ahead of the Gen X financial curve.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
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Many Gen Xers are currently in the last years of parenting growing teens or supporting their young adult children in college. They may also be in caregiving roles to their parents, stretching their resources of time, money, and energy quite thin.

If you’re a Gen Xer and feeling the pressure of planning for retirement and taking care of your loved ones, you may be doing better than you realize. 

Here are a few statistics to serve as barometers of how you’re doing compared to other Gen Xers.

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You spend less than $75,087 per year

Chan2545/Adobe woman hands holding a wallet with dollar currency

While Gen X makes the most money of any generation, they also spend the most. The average Gen X household spends $75,087 per year. 

Hats off to you if you can keep your budget lower than this threshold. Keep looking for more ways to pay off debt and save for the future.

Your net worth is over $168,600

Matthew Benoit/Adobe net worth increase

Your net worth comprises everything you own (house, car, savings, cash, etc.) minus everything you owe (student loans, medical debts, mortgage and credit card balances, etc.). 

If yours exceeds the median Gen Xer’s net worth of $91,300 to $168,600, you’re doing better than most.

Your household income is over $113,455 per year

vinnstock/Adobe money and income statement report

Gen Xers currently have the highest income of any generational bracket. This is understandable as many Gen X households have two working adults and children who have grown up and left the home (or are close to it).

If you’re making the most of your peak working years and your household is earning more than $113,455 annually, you’re ahead of the financial game.

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Your credit score is above 706

REDPIXEL/Adobe excellent credit score report at table

According to data from Experian, the median credit score for former “latchkey kids” is 706, which is good but not fabulous. If you can raise your credit score above that level, you’re doing better than most.

You’re in good physical health

Jasmina/Adobe exercise bike in gym

Unfortunately, physical health has been declining among Gen Xers and millennials. Problems such as chronic inflammation and increased metabolic syndrome plague these generations, along with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. 

Physical health is difficult to put a price on, but it’s a type of wealth worth building as much as you’re able to.

You have a defined benefits plan

zinkevych/Adobe joyful pensioner keeping smile on her face while checking documents

Despite having minimal retirement savings, only 14% of Gen Xers have a defined benefits plan or pension. If you’re one of the lucky ones who can depend on income from a pension, you’ll be ahead of most other Gen Xers in your golden years.

Your outlook on retirement is positive

2B/Adobe Beautiful happy elderly couple rest at tropical resort

Given some of the above statistics, it’s understandable that 44% of Gen Xers surveyed do not feel confident about retirement. If your net worth is looking good and your future is moving in a positive financial direction, you’re ahead of most Gen Xers.

You have less than $8,134 in credit card debt

Farknot Architect/Adobe holding and choosing credit card to use

In 2022, the average credit card balance for a Gen Xer was $8,134 — up 15% from 2021. Sadly, Gen X has more credit card debt than every other generation. 

Some experts speculate that this comes from increased expenses from supporting children, caring for aging parents, and inflationary pressures.

You owe less than $44,290 in student loans

Brian Jackson/Adobe saving for education

Even though Gen Xers paid cheaper tuition than millennials, they carry the highest average student loan balance at $44,290 per borrower. Sadly, 38% of Gen Xers surveyed said student loans were inhibiting their retirement savings.

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You have more than $144,000 in home equity

fotopak/Adobe house on pile of money

For most people, home equity represents a large portion (if not THE largest portion) of their net worth. Gen Xers have an average of $144,000 of equity in their homes. If your equity is greater than this, congratulations!

You have three months’ worth or more of emergency savings

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe jlass jar labeled

Most Gen Xers do not have the recommended three to six months’ worth of emergency savings; 35% have some savings but not enough to cover three months, and 22% have no emergency fund at all. 

If you can handle living on your emergency fund for three months or more, you’re doing better than most Gen Xers — and most Americans, for that matter.

Money doesn’t negatively impact your mental health

luismolinero/Adobe woman taking a lot of money

A whopping 60% of Gen Xers say their finances adversely impact their mental health. This is more than any other generational group. 

Caught between supporting late teen and young adult children and helping aging parents, this “sandwich generation” has a lot of stressors — financial and otherwise.

You have a college education

BillionPhotos.com/Adobe graduation cap and books

Gen X was more educated than previous generations; 18% of men and 20% of women had college degrees by age 33. While 65% of late Gen Xers had to borrow money to go to college, the statistics show that the investment resulted in more income.

You donate to charity

Rawpixel.com/Adobe donating to charity

Only 59% of Gen Xers donate to charity. This is behind the Silent Generation (88%), baby boomers (72%), and even millennials (60%). 

While the statistics may paint Gen X as less generous, they may hide the fact that many Gen Xers are still raising their children or supporting them in young adulthood, along with caregiving for their aging parents.

You’ve saved more than $40,000 for retirement

sorrapongs/Adobe man saving money for retirement

As a generation, Gen X is woefully behind in retirement savings. The average Gen Xer has only $40,000 in private retirement savings. 

Hopefully, your IRA is fuller than your peers', as this represents a lot of ground to cover before you retire.

Bottom line

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While these facts and statistics are interesting and useful as guidelines, it’s important to remember that these are only averages and not reflective of your needs and financial situation. 

While you may have $100,000 in savings, you'll fall short of what you need if you plan to travel more or care for your parents during retirement. 

Pay more attention to your progress than comparisons to others. Having more than other Gen Xers won’t help you achieve your financial goals.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.

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