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I am a member of Generation X which means there are two main concepts that I
grew up with: how to play Atari and dial a rotary phone at the same time and
that I will not be as financially well off as my parents.
Back in the early 1970's, my then 30-something Baby Boomer parents were
living the epitome of the middle-class lifestyle. They both held college
degrees, owned a home in a middle-class neighborhood, owned two cars and
grilled out with other neighbors on a regular basis and their only child
was attending a Montessori pre-school. They had arrived at their intended
destination of middle-class society.
We are currently going through interesting economic times otherwise known as
the jobless recovery.
The easy going middle class lifestyle of the Baby Boom generation has given
way to the 21st century and the Gen X version of the middle class existence.
Which basically consists of a 30 something family is drowning in debt to
keep up the private school tuition, their own college student loan
payments, car payments, house payments on the modest split-level home and
the credit card debt that is necessary to keep up the illusion of
In this day and age, ascending to the middle class equals more financial
burdens instead of security. Chances are you have probably changed jobs at
least three times since you graduated from college 8 years ago and you are
always aware that your department could be down-sized at a moment's notice.
Meanwhile, wily advertising execs are having a field day peddling
high-interest credit cards and over-priced luxury items which promise to add
some much-needed glamour to your anxious drone-like lifestyle.
Articles and financial pundits alike express sympathy for the floundering
My suggestion to middle-class Gen-Xers is to stop living way above your
means and face facts that the easygoing middle-class existence of our
parents is long gone. Which means that a little bit of sacrifice and
financial re-evaluation is in order.
I can already hear the grumbling of protest from my Gen-X brothers and
"We are getting a raw deal from the Baby Boomer generation. They are
stealing our jobs and they are going to deplete the Social Security system
when they retire."
Perhaps, but the answer to the impending Social Security apocalypse is
thrift and not animosity toward our Baby Boomer elders.