As the oldest members of Gen X approach their sixth decade, it's time to take a moment and understand how this unique generation thinks about money.
Born between 1965 and 1980, they're used to doing things for themselves, so they don't need to waste money paying someone to manage their money or tell them how to manage financial stress. They'll handle it all themselves, thank you.
They grew up before there were influencers, so new shiny objects or poor advice on social media doesn't sway them. But what is it about Gen X that makes them have a different approach to finance and how they make money?
Let's look at some of the special characteristics of this generation and how it affects their relationship with money.
Gen X'ers like to do things for themselves. This may stem from their childhood, when they learned to be alone for long periods because both parents worked or they were members of single-parent families.
As a result, they might be more likely to manage their finances on their own. For example, Gen X'ers are more likely to have a 401(K) and believe that the ability to save for retirement is mainly their responsibility.
We often describe Generation X as being skeptical. This may be because, as children, Generation Xers were raised in a period when society was changing socially, culturally, technologically, and economically. As a result, they question what they're told and look for evidence to support it.
This healthy skepticism also extends to their finances. Gen X'ers are research-oriented when it comes to making financial decisions. For example, according to a survey conducted by Investopedia, 75% to 80% of Generation Xers believe they have an intermediate to advanced grasp of personal finance fundamentals.
Generation Xers came of age when tech companies were dominating the economy. These companies often had relaxed dress codes and company cultures.
As a result, Generation Xers are more likely to have a casual attitude toward work and money. They don't like antiquated regulations and they question their validity. Not surprisingly, Gen Xers have this same attitude with their own finances.
They want a good work-life balance
We often laud Generation X for their focus on work-life balance. This may be due partly to seeing their parents working long hours and missing out on important family events. As a result, they are more likely to manage their time and make sure they have enough time for both work and play. And this extends to their choices for how to make money.
A focus on balance also applies to their finances. Many Gen X'ers balance their portfolios with a diversified portfolio that may include pension funds, 401(k)s, cryptocurrency, and passive rental income.
Generation X values adaptability and diversity. They came of age in an era when many immigrants arrived in the United States. This exposure to different cultures and customs may have made them more open-minded and accepting of change.
This flexibility also extends to their finances. For example, Gen X'ers are more likely to start their own businesses, have online brokerage accounts, and invest in a broader range of assets than other generations.
Gen X'ers are more likely to start their own businesses than those in other generations. Since they are resourceful and self-sufficient, they are often willing to take risks.
This entrepreneurial spirit also affects their finances. For example, Gen X'ers are willing to take on more debt. According to Experian, the average Generation Xer has an average debt of $125,000.
Generation X grew up when technology was rapidly transforming daily life. They were the first generation to use personal computers at home and school.
They also grew up when the internet revolution was taking off, and they were among the first to use cell phones and smartphones. As a result, they are comfortable using new technologies and quickly adapt to change.
This comfort with technology applies to managing their finances. For example, Gen Xers often turn to the internet for financial advice by conducting searches, reading financial information websites, and watching online videos.
Generation Xers are used to taking care of themselves. We often refer to them as the "latchkey generation" because they grew up in a time when both parents were working, and they often had to take care of themselves before or after school. Consequently, they are resourceful and self-sufficient.
Not surprisingly, they rely on themselves for knowledge of personal finance. According to an Investopedia survey, approximately 80% of Generation X say they have an intermediate to an advanced understanding of personal finance areas such as insurance, money, and paying taxes.
Generation X is a unique generation with many characteristics that set them apart from other generations. They are self-reliant, adaptable, and entrepreneurial when it comes to making extra money. They are also comfortable using new technologies to manage their finances. Plus, they make more money than their parents did at their age.
These characteristics make them well-suited to navigating the ever-changing world of personal finance. You can learn from them by educating yourself about personal finance, saving for retirement with a mix of assets, and taking advantage of technology.
By taking these steps, you may set yourself up for financial success now and in the future.