For members of Generation X, living with debt has become a fact of life. But this comfort with buying on credit is negatively impacting their ability to save for retirement and meet other financial obligations, according to a new report.
Allianz Life unveils this finding in a summary of results from its new “Generations Apart” study. The survey of 2,000 Americans, including 1,000 baby boomers (ages 49-67) and 1,000 Gen Xers (ages 35-48), examines financial attitudes and current finances for each generation, including total household debt.
The study finds that Gen Xers are carrying 38 percent more in mortgage debt (average of $144,000 versus $90,000 for boomers) and 45 percent more in non-mortgage debt, comprised of student loan debt (average of $12,000 versus $5,000 for boomers) and credit card debt (average of $8,000 versus $6,000 for boomers).
The report adds that nearly half (48 percent) of both generations agree that credit cards now function as a survival tool. And 43 percent agree that “lots of smart, hardworking people who are careful with spending also have a lot of credit card debt.”
The growing comfort with debt, the report suggests, may be having a greater effect on the retirement plans of Gen X. Twice as many Gen Xers (27 percent versus 11 percent of boomers) say they are unsure about when they plan to retire or don’t plan to retire.