How financial stress affects Gen X at work. Gen X has the most overall debt compared to any other generation and they’re bringing their financial stress to work.

Gen X — roughly those between the ages of 38 and 58 — is often cited as the “forgotten generation” sitting between the more famed Millennials and Baby Boomers. However forgotten they may be, those in Gen X are facing a whole host of unique financial stressors that employers need to address.  

In addition to carrying the most credit card debt and being the least happy at work compared to all other generations, Gen Xers are worried about being able to retire and only 60 percent feel confident in their finances. Below, we break down the top financial stressors affecting Gen X workers. 

Gen X’s Credit Card Debt Is a Big Part of Their Financial Stress

Gen X has the most overall debt than any other generation, a significant portion of which comes from credit card debt. Those between the ages of 45 and 54 have an average of $9,096 in credit card debt, and people who are 45-44 have the second-highest level of debt — $8,235. Because credit card debt typically carries higher interest rates than any other debt, the debt problem facing Gen X is particularly harmful. 

To make matters worse, a study from PwC found that a majority — 60 percent — of Gen Xers consistently carry balances on their credit cards and 2 in 5 find it difficult to make their minimum credit card payments on time each month.

How Financial Stress Affects Gen X at Work

Gen Xers also report feeling the least happy at work and a quarter note better job security as their top priority for achieving future financial goals. A mere 68 percent of Gen X workers feel happy at work, compared to 74 percent of boomers and 75 percent of Millennials

This discontent at work stems from a variety of sources, including a lack of respect from employers, limited opportunities for upward mobility and sparse management and development skills training. Further, Gen X’s workplace unhappiness directly connects to their financial stressors — about two-thirds say that their compensation at work is not keeping up with the rising cost of their living expenses.  

Financial Stress and Retirement Savings

Gen X is advancing quickly towards retirement, but 67 percent say they are not confident that they will be able to retire when they want to and one-third have already withdrawn from their retirement funds to cover expenses. 

More than half of Gen X report feeling significantly or somewhat behind on their retirement savings and 18 percent do not plan to retire at all, according to a survey from MetLife. Compared to Millennials and Baby Boomers, these numbers make Gen Xers the least secure in their retirement plans. 

Gen Xers note financial matters as their main cause of stress, making financial wellness an essential workplace conversation given the stressors outlined above. Programs like Best Money Moves can help alleviate the problem for both employees and employers. Best Money Moves is a mobile, gamified and easy-to-use financial wellness program. It provides practical, unbiased help so employees can make smarter financial decisions and manage the debt they have. 

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