by Jodi Summers
The recession has impacted each generation in a different way. Millennials are experiencing high unemployment rates. Boomers are delaying their retirement due to the economy. Gen X has taken the largest hit to their net worth.
A recently released Census report found that people between 35 and 44 saw a 59% decline in median household net worth between 2005 to 2010 < the largest decline in net worth of all age groups. Those 55 to 64, saw a 25% drop, though they had a larger decline in actual dollar amount, as they had saved more.
Generation X – a.k.a. the MTV generation – was born roughly from 1965-1982. They grew up with the introduction of the home computer, the beginning growth of video game era, cable television and the Internet. Their cultural perspectives and political apathy have been shaped by series of events that include the 1973 oil crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the 1986 Space space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the 1987 Black Monday, the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the elections of George H.W. Bush, William (Bill) Clinton and the savings and loan crisis that preceded the early 1990s recession. Other attributions include the AIDS epidemic, the crack cocaine epidemic, the War on Drugs, the Iran hostage crisis, Iran-Contra Affair, Operation Desert Storm, the Dot-com bubble, grunge and alternative rock, and the global influence of the hip hop culture and music genre.
Gen X is a relatively small group of 46 million people. A quite generation, they have largely stayed out of the headlines. They have also tried to do everything right financially. Most have worked at a stable job for years, built a comfortable savings, and possibly bought their first home at the market’s peak. Then when everything came crashing down, they were stuck with an underwater mortgage, young kids in the house, possibly a job loss, and unlike boomers, they never had a chance to diversify their portfolios, potentially losing a lot of what they had in stocks.
The chart below shows that although all age groups lost net household worth during the recession, Gen X felt the brunt of it:
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