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Gen X Segment Summary March 2012

Source: 2010–11 MacroMonitor


  • Gen Xers are individuals born between 1962 and 1978.
  • Of 128 million US economic households, Gen Xers head 38.3 million.
  • Their median income is $53K; their mean income is $74K. One in four have incomes of $100K or more.
  • Their average liability is $133K; financial assets, $104K; home equity, $87K; net worth, $194K.
  • They are more likely than other age cohorts to have an undergraduate college degree or higher (two in five do so), to be married or cohabiting (67%), and to have dependent children (57%).

Products and Services Gen Xers Are More Likely Than Other Age Cohorts to Own

  • Assets: Custodial accounts (12%), 529s (9%), educational savings accounts (6%), 401k/403b/457s (56%), and vehicles (80%)
  • Debts: First mortgage (55%), second mortgage (10%), any mortgage on other real estate (9%), and vehicle loans (43%)
  • Insurance: Vehicle (80%), credit (10%), group life (57%), group health (59%), and dental or eye insurance (61%)

Financial Attitudes with Which Gen Xers Are More Likely to Agree Than Are Other Age Cohorts (somewhat or mostly agree)

  • In investing, getting the highest return for the lowest risk is the most important factor. (85% agree)
  • I would rather pay a single monthly fee for my banking services than pay a fee for each product or service I use. (72% agree)
  • I would be seriously interested in buying insurance that guarantees an income if I am unable to work. (72% agree)
  • I am willing to accept some risk of losing money if an investment is likely to come out ahead of inflation in the long run. (67% agree)
  • I would be very interested in a savings plan for my children's education. (60% agree)
  • In the past, I sometimes spent more than I really wanted to because credit cards made it so easy. (60% agree)
  • It is important that financial-services representatives make recommendations I should consider. (60% agree)
  • I would be willing to obtain additional products and services from the company that provides my employer's retirement savings plan. (56% agree)
  • I would put most of my assets in an investment that provides a guaranteed income for life—even if it pays a low return. (55% agree)
  • Dealing with financial institutions is about as much fun as being stuck in a traffic jam. (55% agree)
  • I am interested in purchasing socially responsible investments. (48% agree)
  • My household is considering consolidating debts to make them easier to manage. (30% agree)

Interesting Tidbits

Topics Gen X households would like to learn more about:

  • How to prepare for retirement (30%)
  • How to write a will (29%)
  • How to budget better (28%)

More than all other age cohorts, Gen X households name these financial needs as extremely important:

  • Minimizing monthly expenses (32%)
  • Replacing income if a wage earner dies (32%)
  • Investing money for use in the distant future (26%)
  • Considering a budget for the next one or two months (23%).


Younger Gen Xers (between the ages of 34 and 40) are embarking on the next phase of their life's path: developing careers and forming households. Older Gen Xers (between the ages of 40 and 50) are in their most economically productive years; many are raising families. The roaring 1990s, in which many people made economic gains, gave way to the uncertain 2000s, which ended in an economic recession. Shaken, many Gen Xers are looking for a relatively risk-free plan forward to ensure a comfortable future.

Gen Xers have increasing financial needs such as for credit, borrowing, high-return investing, and saving for children's education and their own retirement. At the same time, fewer financial-services providers are available to meet their needs than existed a decade ago. Not only has industry consolidation occurred, but also the recession has many Gen X households consolidating relationships with financial providers. Opportunities exist for institutions, particularly banks, to solidify their relationships with Gen Xers and then to leverage the relationship to capture a greater share of wallet.

To expand relationships with Gen Xers—to build trust—banks might offer free help with household-budget planning, debt consolidation, and special interest rates for large loans such as those for vehicles and mortgages. Many Gen X households appreciate one-stop shopping for financial services, provided they believe they receive a fair deal. Gen X households also look for institutions that can provide seamless access and support through all delivery channels—face-to-face only when absolutely necessary. As household assets increase, financial-services institutions can successfully suggest investment products and sophisticated financial planning, for example.

For more information, contact CFD.