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Brief Published: 17 Jun 2015

Gen X: Anxious But Complacent

Almost a quarter of Gen X in the US are not at all confident they will reach their financial goals

Gen X (aged 35 to 49) have significant financial concerns, but find it difficult to create change or maintain a positive outlook, according to a new survey exploring US consumers' financial attitudes and behaviours.

Findings from the study, conducted by US financial services company Northwestern Mutual, were released in April 2015. The survey included the views of more than 5,000 US adults, from across four generations.

Gen X revealed the poorest financial habits of the four generations studied, having the largest proportion of "informal" planners, more spenders than savers and the least likelihood of possessing more savings than debt. This lack of planning is affecting Gen X's sense of financial wellbeing and future outlook.

  • Growing Old Anxiously: Gen X feel worried about their financial future, as they consider retirement. Almost a quarter are "not at all confident" they will reach their financial goals and two-thirds expect to work past their normal retirement age due to necessity.  
  • Awareness Without Action: Gen X are aware that they need to improve their financial planning, but don't know the steps to take to do this. While only 9% believe their generation to be "very financially responsible", they are the age group least likely to have sought advice from a financial adviser.

There is an opportunity to address the concerns of this generation by offering ways to future-proof their financial outlook. For more insight into how Gen X think and what differentiates this age segment from millennials, see Getting to Know Gen X.