Not Doing Better Than Their Parents: The Stunning Fall Of Generation X

Generation X reflection
By Mandi Woodruff

For the most part, generations in America have followed a similar storyline: Kids grow up to earn more and become more financially secure than their parents and grandparents before them. But that story ended with those born between 1965 and 1981, known as Generation X.

In just about every regard, Gen X has fallen behind financially. Even before the recession, they were earning less and saving less for retirement than previous generations did at their age, while taking on unprecedented debt. They were hit hardest by the recession, losing half of their wealth from 2007 to 2010.

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Where do they go from here?

Assuming the U.S. isn't on track for another recession anytime soon, as long as Gen X finds a way to crack down on spending, get ahold of their debt and find ways to further their careers, they can bounce back. At the very least, Gen X has one thing on their side that older generations would kill for –– time.

Using charts from recent studies on generational wealth gaps by the Pew Research Center and the Urban Institute, we've put together a clearer picture of what's gone wrong for Gen X.

The Stunning Fall Of Generation X [CHARTS]
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Not Doing Better Than Their Parents: The Stunning Fall Of Generation X
While Generation Xers got a lot richer over the past two decades, this was primarily due to them entering the workforce. Older generations saw larger real gains.
Young generations have stopped getting richer over time.
37-year-old Americans today are actually much poorer than 37-year-olds in 1983.
The recession dealt a devastating blow to Gen X, knocking median net worth from $75,077 in 2007 to a paltry $41,600 three years after the recession.
Meanwhile Gen Xers are drowning in debt.
By 2010, Gen Xer's assets were less than twice as much as their debt load, making them more likely to take on more debt as they struggled to pay for housing, student loans and car payments.
Even before the recession, Generation Xers were less prepared for retirement than previous generations at the same age.
nd at the rate they're earning today, if Gen X doesn't start accumulating more wealth now, they're facing a far less cushy retirement than their elders.

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