There’s no mistaking the raised eyebrow of the Gen Xer. Learn about this independent, resourceful and highly skeptical generation and navigate its key traits to build strong relationships.

The Generations

Events and Conditions

The formative years have a significant impact on behavior, outlook and generational personality.

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Xers earned this nickname by coming home after school to an empty house. They became independent, learning how to manage their own time – doing homework, watching TV and cooking their own dinner.

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Created in 1980, Pac-Man revolutionized the gaming world by establishing the maze chase genre. Xers were the first generation exposed to the video game world, and many played this classic at arcades after school.

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The Chicago Bulls star is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, earning him the nickname “Air Jordan.” Many kids were looking for heroes, and MJ delivered.

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MTV launched in 1981 with the music video “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The creation of MTV changed the way Xers spent their free time.

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Founded in 1980, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage. Xers watched live as many institutions were called into question by 24-hour news.

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A tragic and pivotal moment of Gen Xers’ formative years, the 1986 Challenger disaster created misgivings about NASA. This was just one example of how trusted institutions let this generation down.

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Etan Patz’s disappearance in 1979 sparked the missing children’s movement. Grabbing a milk at lunch, Xers witnessed first-hand how dangerous the world can be.

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Xers remember the debut of the Apple I and the first mass-marketed personal computer, the Commodore PET. Millennials may believe they are the first high-tech generation, but Gen Xers were truly the pioneers.

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The rise of the Internet was a major milestone for Xers. The subsequent tech bust created another source of skepticism for the generation.


As a result of events and conditions during their formative years, each generation develops a specific set of characteristics.

Financial Outlook

Complex financial decisions put Gen Xers on point for financial guidance.

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of Xers believe they can no longer count on pensions, Social Security and Medicare.1

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of Xers have not tried to calculate what they need to save for retirement.2

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of Xers identify as a “saver” vs. a “spender.”3

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are concerned about the possible financial strain of caring for aging parents.4

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of Gen Xers will leave an inheritance to children and grandchildren.5

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of Xers feel optimistic about their financial future.6

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94% of Xers believe it’s critically important for them to build their own financial security in retirement.1

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66% of Xers think their financial plan needs improvement.7

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78% of Xers are interested in receiving financial advice.8

1 Generations Apart℠ How boomers and Generation Xers are facing their financial futures. (2015, April). Allianz.

2 Fact Book 2016. A Guide to Information, Trends, and Data in the Retirement Income Industry. (2016). Insured Retirement Institute.

3 2017 Allianz Generations Ahead Study – Quick Facts #1. (2017). Allianz.

4 Retirement 2.0 Research Report. Generation X shares their vision for retirement. (2015). Ameriprise Financial.

5 Family Wealth Checkup. A multigenerational study on how families talk about money and long-term financial planning. (2017). Ameriprise Financial.

6 Gen Z and the Challenges/Opportunities Driving Their Financial Mindsets. (2016, Aug. 11). Lincoln Financial Group.

7 The Gen X Retirement Dilemma. (2017). Northwestern Mutual.

8 TIAA 2016 Advice Matters Survey. (2016, Sept. 29). TIAA.

This information is prepared by an unrelated independent third party, BridgeWorks, and is provided for informational purposes only. Ivy Distributors, Inc., believes the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.