Over the years, we have reviewed people’s differences by generation. Nonetheless, Gen X sometimes get overlooked. Wedged between Baby Boomers and Generation Z. Yet, Gen X remains important. We now turn to the effects of the pandemic on Generation X.

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Tough Times: The Effects of the Pandemic on Generation X

Typically, marketers describe Gen X as encompassing those born between 1965 and 1980. In the U.S., this represents 65 million individuals. Accounting for just under 20 percent of the population.

Recent times have not been kind to Gen X. As Mark Dolliver reports for Insider Intelligence:

Many Gen Xers were in shaky financial shape before the pandemic and  suffered during it. But with above-average incomes and bigger-than-average households — and at a life stage necessitating lots of spending — Xers remain a cohort marketers cannot ignore.

Pandemic aside, have U.S. Xers been in decent financial shape? Their household incomes — averaging $106,173 pretax in 2019, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — were well above the U.S. average. But their share of total wealth is barely half of that held by baby boomers. Many have yet to recover from the Great Recession.

Have they been hit hard financially by the pandemic? Very. One survey by Bankrate showed more than half of U.S. Xers lost at least some household income as of November. December Census Bureau data showed nearly 13 million finding it “very difficult” to pay bills. Many raided retirement accounts to cover current expenses.

Has the pandemic reshaped Xers’ spending? It has reduced what in recent years has been an outsize level of household spending — $76,788 in 2019, versus $63,036 for total households. About half of Xers in a May Jungle Scout survey reported cutting outlays. The squeeze increased the urgency of deal seeking. Xers’ shopping swung more toward digital, including for groceries.

The financial travails of 2020 did not imbue Xers with confidence about 2021. With 42% of those in the U.S. expecting to be in “survival mode,” according to October research by Fidelity Investments.

The Effects of the Pandemic on Generation X


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