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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Generation X

When was the last time you saw a TV commercial or print ad that specifically targeted Generation X (those of us born from 1965-1980)?

Can’t remember, can you?

Bueller? Bueller?
Well, don’t worry. It isn’t your imagination. In 2015, CNBC analyzed over 17,000 transcripts of Fortune 500 company’s earnings calls. The result? Generation X was mentioned a grand total of just 16 times.

It’s painfully clear (especially to a bona-fide Gen Xer such as myself): big brands — financial and otherwise — have officially given up on Generation X.

And why not?

With technology moving at the speed of light, it makes sense that businesses are clamoring to market to Millennials (born from 1981-1996) and even Generation Z (born 1997-present). After all, they don’t remember what it’s like to live without the internet. They yearn for the latest and greatest technology to consume.

Simply put, brands don’t know how to market to us Gen Xers, a generation that is very capable with technology but also feels nostalgic for pre-tech America. (There’s also the whole “slacker” thing, but I won’t go into that here.)

Smaller Demographic
There’s another reason businesses aren’t marketing to us Gen Xers. There are 75 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. and 90 million Millennials — but only 42 million Gen Xers.

Even though we have considerable wealth to drive the economy, we’re sandwiched between two mega-generations, which makes it difficult for our wants and needs to be noticed. With limited marketing dollars to go around, it makes sense to market to the larger segments of the population, but brands that ignore Gen X do so at their own peril.

With our small size and relative quiet, Gen X seems quite similar to another small and quiet generation: “The Silents” (born between 1925-1945).

We Need Financial Help
Consider these interesting (if somewhat contradictory) facts about Generation X:

  • 45% had their net worth cut in half during the Great Recession (we suffered the biggest loss of wealth of all the generations)
  • Half of us are behind on retirement savings (11% have none at all)
  • We kept up our savings during the Great Recession (75% actively participated in company offered 401ks and retirement plans)[1]

Now that Gen X is entering our high-earning middle years, it’s prime time for financial institutions to educate us on making important decisions, namely how to continue saving for retirement while rebuilding the wealth we lost in the recession.

Money Talks
Boasting a median income of more than $100,000, Gen X has money to spend. But only 30% of us consult a financial advisor or institution for advice on how to leverage their income.[2]

The data reflects that Gen Xers are a big market for financial institutions, despite the fact we’ve been largely ignored.

For those institutions that don’t know how to get started with this complex consumer group, we’ve written a white paper that dives deeper into this fascinating generation.

In “Gen X: The New Silent Generation,” we uncover more stats and figures on Gen X, what makes us tick and what we need from today’s financial institutions.

>Download your copy here


[1] “Gen X: The New Silent Generation,” Harland Clarke, July 2016

[2] Ibid.