7 Signs You’re Doing Worse Financially Than the Average Gen Xer

Discover the hidden pitfalls that might be silently eroding your financial stability.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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Gen Xers are older today, with many eyeing retirement in the not-so-distant future. As that milestone event looms, how does your financial fitness compare to that of the generation?

Unfortunately, the answer is likely to be negative for some folks. Here are some key signs that you might be doing worse financially than the average Gen Xer.

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

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The average member of Gen X has $8,134 in credit card debt, according to a USA Today analysis of data from the credit-reporting agency Experian.

You could be heading down a slippery financial slope if you have more credit card debt than that. A large amount of credit card debt leaves you with high-interest payments and limits your ability to save and invest for the future.

So, start crushing your debts now so you can save more for the future.

You have less than $40,000 saved for retirement

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According to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, the average Gen Xer has about $40,000 saved in retirement accounts. If your retirement savings don’t compare, it is time to take action.

Evaluate your current level of annual retirement contributions and explore opportunities to increase savings by contributing more to employer-sponsored retirement plans or individual retirement accounts.

Your household earns less than $117,577

DanteVeiil/Adobe depressed woman reviewing bills at home

The average Gen X household earns $117,577 annually, according to a Bankrate analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you earn less than that, consider ways to boost your income. Increasing your household income can positively impact your overall financial health.

Assess opportunities for career growth, negotiate a salary increase, or look to develop additional income streams, such as starting a side hustle to make extra money.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

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You have more than $40,000 in student loan debt

Damir Khabirov/Adobe woman reviewing bills at kitchen table

Members of Generation X carry an average of $40,000 in student loan debt, according to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. That is the same amount they have saved for retirement.

Tackling this debt head-on is crucial. Explore strategic repayment plans or refinancing options to alleviate the financial burden and create more room for savings and investments.

Your credit score is below 706

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Experian says members of Generation X have a median credit score of 706. If your score is lower, it might be time to work on boosting it.

Maintaining a healthy credit score is crucial to obtaining competitive interest rates on loans and credit cards. Review your credit report for accuracy, address any discrepancies, and implement strategies to improve your number, such as paying your bill on time every time.

Your annual expenditures are more than $75,087

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The average Gen X household has annual expenditures of $75,087, according to a Business Insider analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you spend more than this, it might be time to work on managing your budget more efficiently. Look for ways to change your spending habits to free up resources for savings, debt repayment, and investments.

You have a net worth of less than $247,000

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According to a Motley Fool analysis of Federal Reserve data, the median net worth of those between the ages of 45 and 54 — including Gen Xers — is $247,000.

If your nest egg is smaller than this amount, it might be time for a new plan. Even at this point in life, it's not too late to save more and start investing.

The key to increasing your net worth is identifying opportunities to increase assets while actively managing and reducing liabilities. If you're unsure how to start, consider consulting with a financial advisor.

Bottom line

sakkmesterke/Adobe woman stacking coins on table

If you're a member of Generation X, comparing where you stand against the benchmarks on this list can provide valuable insights about what you need to improve in your financial life.

Reflect on money goals and consider a new plan to help you build wealth and give you a sense of financial well-being that matches your fellow Gen Xers.

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Author Details

Chris Kissell

Chris Kissell is a writer and editor whose work has been featured at Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Bankrate, Money Talks News, and more. He writes mainly about personal finance, insurance and health issues.