According to a generational study by Financial Finesse, each generation has unique vulnerabilities threatening their overall financial security. The Boomers have an impending health care crisis and millennials seem traumatized by the recession, but it’s Generation X that the study found to be in the most danger.
Gen X, which the study defines as adults between the ages of 30 and 54, lags behind Boomers and millenials in areas of basic money management like handling cash flow, paying bills on time and regularly paying off credit cards in full.
When it comes to saving for the future, they were tied with the millennials at just 17 percent. While many millennials are still young enough to fall back on their parents for support, Gen X’ers are more likely to own a home and have children. Their lack of savings comes with an increased financial risk, and many are even sacrificing their own emergency funds to save for their child’s college fund.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Gen X also reported the most amount of stress over finances and most likely to feel unable to reach financial goals.
The good news is that Gen X’ers are entering their peak earning years and have shown steady improvement in money management skills since Financial Finesse’s 2012 study. They are also still young enough to create a sizeable retirement plan and take advantage of catch-up contributions. As the economy improves, Gen X could build on this momentum and close the gap with Boomers.
For advisors looking to reach Gen X clients, the report recommending educating them on reducing expenses, saving for retirement while juggling other financial demands, and saving for a child’s college fund without jeopardizing other financial goals.
“Generation X includes many busy parents, so focus on the value of financial education as a way to save time, simplify their lives, and reduce stress,” the report said. “Provide access to do-it-yourself content and tools as many prefer to be independent and self-reliant.”
The report, which can be found here, dives into the weaknesses and strengths of each generation and provides tips on how to help them.