News flash: the “Golden Years” for Generation X will be much more challenging than it has been for the generations that came before us.
What, you expected normalcy now?
Despite all of the negativity, our generation is doing just fine, thanks. We know what we have to do, and we’re not ones to complain about it, either.
After all, we were handed the keys to self-sufficiency by the changing economic realities that shaped our reality — and resiliency — from the start. And if the future shapes up as expected, we’re one group that’s prepared to deal.
Ours is the first generation where it was common for both parents to go to work, which left us to fend for ourselves. We were the so-called “latchkey kids.”
We learned how to let ourselves into an empty house after school. Figuring out how to eat microwaved mini pizzas as a snack without getting third-degree burns on the roofs of our mouths wasn’t the biggest challenge, either — but we handled it.
In the Gen X world, we often joke about how lax parenting was when we were kids and that we would be arrested today if we parented that way. But most Gen Xers say it with pride. And that pride is going to ultimately come through over the coming decades as our financial success becomes clearer.
Independence and self-reliance became an important part of our self-identification and psychological makeup. These are all the hallmarks of resiliency, and the kind of grit it takes to not just survive, but also to succeed.
Xers are doin’ it for themselves
For those who still think of us as slackers, this year’s National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) poll on how people are spending their tax refunds speaks volumes:
- Older Gen Xers (44-54) are equally focused on paying down debt and putting money into emergency savings (17%).
- For younger Gen Xers and Xennials (35-43) paying down debt is an even bigger priority (39%), as is saving up for a rainy day (26%).
It turns out that the latchkey kid mentality isn’t about the glass being half empty. It’s actually about having the inner strength and work ethic necessary to keep refilling your cup, despite the adversity.
No one is saying it’s easy. But we’re saying we got this. Because nobody knows better than us that when it comes to fiscal independence (and most things, actually), we’ve got to do it for ourselves.