Generational Spending: Gen X

Our third blog in the Generational Spending series will focus on those who make up nearly 25% of the population but produce 31% of the total US income: Generation Xers.

Those in Gen X are in the 36-51 age range. Most decision-makers, both in families and in businesses, are in this group.

While this generation is tech-savvy, their purchasing decisions are not based solely, or mostly, on convenience. This generation places emphasis on the desire for balance and flexibility. Here’s a peek at some of the habits of Gen X when it comes to finance and spending.

Stuck in the Middle
When it comes to saving money, sometimes Gen Xers can feel like they are stuck in the middle. They have to take care of their own children, but they sometimes find themselves in situations where they must care for their aging parents. Because of this, 39% of those in this generation feel they will never have as secure a financial situation as their parents before them.

While Gen X spends more than Millennials annually, they only account for 23% of restaurant dining. However, convenience is still an important factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. Nearly 73% of Gen X shoppers have purchased pre-made food within the last 6 months. Grab-and-go options that are still fresh are right up the Gen X alley. Most of those in Gen X gravitate toward products and services with testimonials from people they know or with influencers with similar values and interests. While this generation has spent most of their adult life on social media, they are not as influenced by Facebook or Twitter when making a purchase.

Debt and Credit
While this age group is often found in the middle of paying off debt and student loans or even heading toward the end of their payments. The average student loan balance of this generation, though, is still a hefty $37,280. This generation is also known as “Generation Debt.” This isn’t uncommon with the stresses of caring for children, providing care for aging parents, home repairs, and more expenses that are often charged to a credit card.

While Gen X might be racking up some debt or has significant expenses, but they are also quickly approaching their highest earning potential. In fact, after the housing collapse in 2008, Gen X was able to rebound better than any other generation. Because a bulk of Gen X wealth is in their home, the bulk of their assets were not found in checking or retirement accounts. Being the generation currently at their highest earning potential, Gen X averages an annual household income of more than $100,000 which is more than Baby Boomers before them and Millennials who follow them.