More recently, a 2018 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis of its Consumer Expenditure Survey data showed that Gen-Xers had the highest level of mean average annual expenditure, at $66,981. That compares with $47,113 for Millennials and $59,646 for Baby Boomers.3
Gen-Xers find themselves in a better financial position than Millennials for a variety of reasons. Not only are they further into their careers – and higher up the salary curve – many Gen-Xers were also spared the paralyzing student debt with which Millennials have had to cope.
Gen-Xers seem determined to save some money for the future. A survey by the Shullman Research Center4 found that the vast majority of Gen-Xers plan to save some money over the next 12 months, including nine out of 10 “upscale” Gen-Xers and eight out of 10 “mass market” Gen-Xers.5 Some 50% of all Gen-Xers say saving for their children’s education is a major goal.
Gen-Xers have also become the generation most likely to invest in the stock market. A 2017 Gallup survey revealed that 62% of individuals aged 30 to 49 said they invest in stocks, versus 54% for those aged 65 and older, and only 31% for those 18 to 29.6
In fact, Gen-Xers are more likely to invest in mutual funds than other generations. About 53% of Gen-Xers own mutual funds versus 48% of Baby Boomers and 38% of Millennials, according to a recent study by the Investment Company Institute.7
What's next for Gen-X?
If you’re a Gen-Xer whose savings and investments have increased, the next step is to develop an investment approach geared to your distinctive needs and objectives.
For instance, have you determined your investment priorities? Are you focused primarily on your retirement savings, or do you also need to put some money away for more immediate needs, such as your children’s education or a new home?
To help you sort out your investment priorities, see Money and Gen-Xers: Part 2, Prioritizing investments across a variety of needs.