A generation consists of a group of people that were born and raised at the same time, and in the same area. Some people can fit into two separate generations because of when they were born, and how they were raised. Generations are not boxes. However, to understand generations, it is important to either know the years that make them up, to see how old its members are.
Each generation has its own characteristics that make it unique. It’s weird to see the big differences, knowing that the older generations raised the younger ones. The biggest difference between each generation is how they each one interacts with money. There are several different generations that people acknowledge, but we’re only going to focus on five:
Also known as the “Greatest Generation”, were born 1922-1945, so most are over 70 years old. Many of them are now retired, but some till work part-time jobs to keep busy and earn extra cash. Money is their livelihood. These are the people that will literally work until they die. This generation believes in working hard and knowing the full value of a dollar. Traditionalists believe that it is not good to spend money lightheartedly. They put their money away, and saved it.
Born post WWII, 1946-1964, this generation flourished in the post-wartime climate. They are the children that were born as a result of soldiers coming home from the war. It was a period with an overflow of money, and the Baby Boomers took advantage of that. They were not afraid to spend money on more than just the necessities, because they had good paying jobs to fall back on. They are the buy now, pay later generation. Most of them are not college educated, because the jobs they had did not require them to be, yet they were still paid well. They believe that having money is having status.
This generation was born 1965-1980, they are a super conservative bunch that did not spend frivolously, but they believed in saving like the Traditionalist generation. They did spend significant amounts on education, because all of the regular trade/vocational jobs were filled with workers, who didn’t make much money. So they became professionals, in their respective fields, and began to invest and build their stock portfolios. Money is their means to an end.
Also known as Generation Y, the millennials were born between 1981-2000. This is the generation of forward thinkers. This bunch is not afraid of spending, nor afraid of debt. They are the earn it, to spend it generation. Millennials will accrue student loans, and other debts, as a way to get a head in their lives/careers. However, they will not accumulate debt that they cannot pay back. They manage their finances a bit better than those in Generation X. This bunch also is into building up generational wealth by investing in the stock market, and in other business ventures. Money is simply today’s payoff.
They were born after 2001, and as result, they have not really entered into the world of having a complete financial profile, but they do have a sense of what it is like. This generation has no problem with spending money, but is afraid of large amounts of debt, specifically student loans. As a whole, their complete profile won’t be complete until more time has passed and more research can be done.
Logically speaking, the middle generations have the largest amounts of debt. The oldest generation, and the youngest generation hardly have any accumulated debts. The oldest generation has had enough time to pay their debts down, while the youngest is too young to even accrue any. The middle generations have started to purchase homes, cars, have major credit card bills, and other loan debts. These debts, they help to build your credit, are not entirely bad things, so long as they stay on top of their monthly bills and payments.
Oddly enough, the millennials and Generation X make up over half of our nation’s purchasing power. These two generations are part of the middle generations, who are in debt. These generations having the majority of the purchasing power is likely due to the fact that they work more, and therefore can afford more, because they are younger.
If you take the best traits from each generation and apply them to your personal life, your financial situation would improve, almost overnight. And hopefully Generation Z can do the same and make the necessary financial applications, when it is their turn to start building up their credit scores and financial footprints.
These best traits are:
- Save. Save. Save.
- Know the value of $1.
- You need some debt to build credit. Owe, to pay back.
- Take risks.
These may seem trivial to some, but they are important to your financial future.