What Years Are Baby Boomers? A Generation-by-Generation Analysis!
Finding out the birth years that make up the Baby Boomer group is like going on an interesting trip through time. This group has left an indelible mark on society, culture, and the world as a whole. They lived through an important time in history. In this smart study, we figure out what’s so mysterious about the years that make up this important group.
By looking at what makes each generation special and how it fits into history, we can see how the Baby Boomers were shaped by their own experiences and major events. Come with us as we look at the fascinating history of this famous and important age.
What Years Are Baby Boomers?
The term “baby boomer” refers to those who were born between 1946 and 1964. After World War II, there was an increase in the number of births, which resulted in the group known as the baby boomers.
What Is Generation X?
Americans born between the middle of the 1960s and the early 1980s are referred to as Generation X or Gen X. Generation X covers a wide range of birth years. Gallup estimates the birth years to be between 1965 and 1979, whereas other researchers (such as demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe) estimate them to be between 1961 and 1981.
But everyone agrees that Gen X came after the baby boomers and before Millennials. The word “X” can mean a variable that isn’t known (like in math) or the generation’s desire to not be labeled.
The term “Generation X” was coined in Douglas Coupland’s 1991 novel of the same name, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Generational theory is the idea that persons born within a certain time frame can be regarded as a group with similar ideas, attitudes, likes, and habits.
The concept of a generation gap has achieved widespread support in the United States2, albeit they are more beneficial for marketing than sociology.
Difference Between Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Millennials
Generation X, the Baby Boomer generation, and millennials are all compared in depth in the 22nd Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers. Key discoveries include:
- While 33% of Gen X savers and 46% of millennials have borrowed or withdrawn from their retirement accounts, only 24% of baby boomers have done so.
- Ninety-three percent of baby boomers participated in a 401(k) or similar plan, while 91 percent of Gen Xers and 89 percent of millennials did.
- The median household retirement savings for baby boomers was an expected $162,000 in 2021, while those figures were at $87,000 for Generation X and $50,000 for millennials.
- However, 63 percent of baby boomers still saved for retirement despite not being offered a 401(k), compared to 50 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of millennials.
Here’s a Facebook post that breaks down the generational divide between Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials:
How was Gen X’s Financial Situation?
There will be a massive transfer of wealth from baby boomers to younger generations, especially their Gen X children, during the next two decades.
According to research, “Cerulli Anticipates $84 Trillion in Wealth Transfers Through 2045.” And they’ll definitely be in need of it.
According to recent data from the Federal Reserve, while baby boomers retain just over half (52%) of the nation’s wealth, Gen X only accounts for 28%. While baby boomers of the same age had 16% of the nation’s wealth in 2008, Gen Xers had only 7.4%.
What are Market Timing Effects on Generation X?
Compared to the baby boomer generation, households in the Xer generation often began working, saving, and investing during a time when returns on investments were lower.
Many households headed by members of Generation X got their start putting money away during times of high market valuations, such as the tech boom and dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and the run-up to the global financial crisis of 2008. Their investments still feel the effects of the subsequent bad markets.
Transamerica found that while 50% of boomers indicated they had fully recovered or were unaffected by the Great Recession, only 44% of Gen X employees felt the same way.
To add insult to injury, the low-interest rate environment that Generation X has been living through has hampered their capacity to build wealth. Meanwhile, it appears that the significant market falls experienced by Gen X investors in their early years have made them more risk cautious.
Rethinking Retirement for the X Generation
Generation X faces a different retirement landscape than their parents did. Pension programs in the private sector are becoming increasingly rare as defined-contribution plans like the 401(k) have taken their place. And Generation Xers aren’t planning on relying on Social Security either.
In contrast to only 26% of Generation X, Baby Boomers’ reliance on Social Security as their principal retirement income is widespread (37%). In fact, 41% of millennials “strongly agree” that Social Security may not exist by the time they reach retirement age, compared to 26% of baby boomers.
Chris Paolini This year, on January 2, he posted a tweet saying that big economic and social changes are coming with the majority of baby boomers. You can read the full message here:
The majority of Baby Boomers around the world hit retirement age at the end of this year. Big, big economic and social changes ahead. Probably going to be a bumpy ten years or so.
— Christopher Paolini (@paolini) January 2, 2023
According to Transamerica’s study, the top two reasons for continuing to work after retirement age are financial considerations and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as one gets older. But baby boomers, who need the money more than previous generations, are more likely to do so. Generation X will keep working since they haven’t saved enough for retirement.
What Makes Gen X the Lost Generation?
Due to the changing social norms and rising rates of divorce, single-parent families, and loneliness that emerged during Gen X’s rise to prominence, this cohort has been variously dubbed the “lost generation,” “forgotten generation,” and “invisible generation.” GenX is again a “lost” generation since it falls between the generations represented by the Baby Boomers and the Millennials.
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