Related Definitions

Generation X (Gen X)

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People grow older, birthdays stay the same. Regardless of age, one will always belong to the generation he/she was born into.

What Do We Mean by Generation X (Gen X)?

Generation X, colloquially referred to as Gen X, is a generational cohort. It is the name given to the generation of people born between the mid-1960s and the early-1980s.

While these years may vary in the opinion of some experts, the consensus agrees that Gen X follows the baby boomers’ generation (born from 1943 to 1960) and precedes Generation Y ( born from 1980 to 2000, colloquially referred to as the millennial generation).

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Due to its placement in the generational cohort metrics, Gen X has been often referred to as an "in-between" generation.

Having defined the cohort, it can be deciphered that members of Gen X group are currently approaching the middle of their working careers and potential peak-earning years.

What are the Key Characteristics of Gen X?

Each generation has different personality traits primarily driven by major events of their childhood, and these traits influence actions. Gen X is believed to have grown up with minimal adult supervision. In most regions, their life has not been easy.

After a period of upheaval (for instance the reconstruction of Europe after the war), finding a job was a great challenge. This forced them to learn the value of independence and take charge of things.

In more modern times, the cohort is believed to appreciate informality. They are seen to be technologically adept, flexible, and highly educated. At workplace, Gen X is likely to appreciate having more open and honest conversations. They embrace feedback and do not allow negative feedback to keep them up at night. Importantly, Gen X embraces work-life balance.

Bottomline- Individualism, ambition, and addiction to work are values that best describe Gen X.

How do we Differentiate Gen-X Vs. Baby Boomers & Millennials?

It is easy to see why there is so much confusion about generational cohorts- few questions are always doing rounds across conversations. For instance, what separates Gen X from Baby boomers and millennials? How old is each generation? Are they really that different? 

Let us find out-

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How Strong is the Financial Footing of Gen X?

One can say that Gen X is perhaps the most financially stressed generational cohort. This is validated by the fact that this section of the society is trying to raise a family, paying off debts while taking care of aging parents. Naturally, these demands put a high strain on their resources.

The generation is always seeking ways to reduce their debt, while building a stable saving plan for the future. Herein, it should be noted that as Gen X is moderately inclined to digitization. They tend to do some research and personal financial management through online banking, but still prefer to do the transactions in person. Besides, a financial trait they carry is the belief that banking is a person-to-person business.

Besides, the consensus also believes that there is a silver lining to the financial stresses of Gen X- over the next few years. There could be a major transfer of wealth from baby boomers to younger generations, which means- their Gen X children.

ALSO READ: Retirement, Baby Boomer Generation and Australia's Tax Scenario

Why Is Gen-X a Blessing to the Society?

Gen X is a productive, creative, inventive, resourceful, and hardworking generation- best ingredients that make societies flourish.

They might have more experience working through tumultuous times. For instance, they faced and overcame the  pivotal times like 9/11 and the 2008 stock market crash. Post this came the COVID-19 pandemic when this section formed the crux of workforce, globally.

Unquestionably, the resilience and thought process of Gen X has proved to a major driver to help economies overcome a number of crisis situations. While baby boomers and millennials were noticed to be perplexed and emotionally turmoiled during these periods.

Most importantly, many of the people in power today are from Gen X- politicians, businessmen, policy makers, teachers etc.

What are Key Challenges Faced by Gen-X?

Every generational cohort has unique challenges. For instance, baby boomers are facing issues of old age, while millennials are struggling to cope with the competition in every sphere be it education or job market.

Gen X, on the other hand, have their minds overloaded with other concerns, including:

  • GEN X does not have the advantage of baby boomers/ older workers who are retired, have lesser obligations and can use their savings as and when needed.
  • They do not have the freedom and enthusiasm of younger workers fresh out of school with adaptable salary demands and lesser life obligations.
  • They are burdened with liabilities- putting their kids through school, saving for college, and caring for ageing parents
  • Gen X does not ideally have the confidence, opportunity, or flexibility to make the career changes they would like.

Do You Know Some of these Interesting Facts About Gen-X?

Let us cast an eye on few interesting facts about Gen X-

  • Gen X is also often referred to as the “latchkey generation”. While growing up, they were left unsupervised at home after school until their parents came home from work
  • They are also called the “sandwich generation” because most of them are struggling in take care of children and older parents.
  • Gen X has faced the dotcom bust, 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. While their contribution as reliant workforce in COVID-19 pandemic has been unbeatable.
  • Forbes reports that Gen X make up almost half of OECD country leaders.

In closing, we leave you with some food for thought-

Baby boomers have all the money. But they are busy retiring on healthy pension pots. Millennials, on the other hand, have all the passion. They are out and about, self-organizing, learning, and failing. On the other hand, Gen X, considered as a blessing to the society, holds most of the real, every day decision making power.

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