But their growing debt apathy may have payoffs for all

Generation X, those folks squarely in middle age, have taken inventory — and are certain they aren’t saving enough and owe too much. Despite this, fewer are making any moves to get help.

And their reluctance to engage may pay off for people of all generations as banks try to find a way to offer more personalized financial help, according to a FICO survey of consumer trends.

“For financial institutions, the task is to try to banish apathy. Present them with financial products and solutions that build trust and help them navigate issues like debt before a competitor does,” says Tim Van Tassel, a FICO VP.

Tassel said he’s seeing some of those institutions doing just that, tailoring what they offer and reaching out to Generation X.

Retirement fears

What is it that’s driven Gen Xers, those ages 38 to 52, into this spot where they fear for their retirement?

For one, the sandwich — as in the financial woes of being sandwiched between retiring boomers and millennials.

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The kids are growing up and over the course of 17 years, they’ll cost their parents about $234,000. And the cost of tuition isn’t that much better. Teenagers aren’t so sure their parents can afford it either, and are trying to put away the cash themselves, as Debt.com reported here.

Meanwhile, aging parents promise to cost nearly $140,000 over a much shorter stretch, the Urban Institute reports.

Then of course, they’re just getting back on their feet from the recession — a hit that put them behind in savings and equity in their homes.

At the end of the day, the middle-aged consumers reported being buried in high credit card debt at a time when they are also making less money.

How bad is it?

When 1,000 consumers were asked about their financial security in an online survey in February and March, most Gen Xers weren’t optimistic:

  • Only 32 percent said they are confident they will reach their long-term financial goals
  • 41 percent said they need to save more
  • 26 percent were fretting the debt they’ve already racked up

A year ago, when FICO surveyed consumer trends, about a quarter of Gen Xers wanted help to gain a better footing. This time around, that number dropped to 18 percent.

A fraction of them have managed to get a leg up, chipping away at their debt and lifting their credit scores by 20 points or more in the last year — a jump that’s more impressive than the national average.

When doing nothing is beneficial

And this is where they could change the face of banking by doing nothing.

Bankers want to find a way to get them engaged, and the pitch to just sell them on some other product isn’t working.

“They want intelligent, personalized recommendations that will help them meaningfully improve their financial security,” Van Tassel said. “We are seeing the industry’s innovators using analytics to create appealing offerings that are tailored to the customer.”

In the meantime, there are ways to help yourself.

From assessing the damage to evaluating your assets,  Debt.com has a step-by-step guide to getting out of credit card debt.

As for that ubiquitous credit score? You can learn how to fix that too.

Meet the Author

Michelle Bryan

Michelle Bryan

Social Media Director

Bryan is the social media director for Debt.com.

News, Retirement

Baby Boomers, banking, credit card debt, Gen X, millennials

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Article last modified on August 24, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Generation X Is Stuck in a Tight Spot - AMP.