While Millennials take the heat for just about everything, when it comes to finances – Generation X is the one facing the direst monetary situation, a number of new surveys find.
Whether it’s baby boomers, Gen Z or Millennials, Generation X takes the prize for carrying the most credit card debt. And of course, credit card debt tends to have the highest rate of interest compared to most other types of debt.
The title for holding the least credit card debt is where Millennials can finally shine. According to research by ValuePenguin, “Millennials and individuals over 74 years old held the least credit card debt.” Further, these two groups are also the least likely to have a credit card. No credit card, no credit card debt.
It’s not only sky-high credit card debt that is getting Generation X into financial peril, but it also has a lot to do with what they spend their money on, which turns out to be a lot on things that aren’t essential.
According to the latest data from bankrate.com, Generation X spends more money than any other generation on things such as restaurant food, prepared beverages and lottery tickets, to the tune of $3,473 per year on average. By comparison, Millennials spend $2,758 yearly on non-essentials.
Before you think spending a few thousand a year on these things isn’t a big deal, remember that one of the biggest problems plaguing Americans today is that they simply don’t earn enough money to put away significant or any savings for retirement.
Now suppose a Gen Xer invested the same $3,473 every year for 10 years at a return of 8%. At the end of the decade, that yearly investment would grow into slightly over $50,000.
Both Millennials and Gen Xers have approximately the same amount of median retirement savings, roughly $35,000, according to a recent study by Allianz Life. But here’s the HUGE difference: Generation X is much closer to retirement and has been working a decade or longer. Millennials have saved the same amount as Gen X in a shorter time.