Are you a Gen Xer? If you were born between 1965 – 1980, then the answer is Yes, although according to some studies, only 41% of Gen Xers associate themselves with that label.
Why is that and what are the implications? I started asking the questions recently.
A forgotten generation, sandwiched between the baby boomers and the millennials, Gen Xers suffer from the middle child syndrome, I think. If you look around the mass market advertising and the books, we are bombarded with messages targeted at the baby boomers and the millennials. Yet, at this moment in time, it’s the Gen Xers who make up the bulk of the labor force, and have the biggest disposable income.
This is a generation of women who are more educated, more involved and motivated to make a difference in the world. We are tech-savvy yet we still remember the simpler days before the internet took over our lives. We aspire to live a fulfilling life with purpose!
We are also carrying the heaviest burden. Being the sandwich generation, we get pulled from many directions. Caring for our aging parents while parenting our own children, we are constantly having to make financial decisions affecting three generations. The demand on our resources, physical energy as well financial obligations are high!
To top it off, we also have the highest level of debts compared to the other generations. With retirement looming on the horizon, the financial pressure is real!
Here’s another piece of interesting data. Divorce Rate By Ethnicity for women (taken from https://www.wf-lawyers.com/divorce-statistics-and-facts/):
|Year||25-29 yrs||30-34 yrs||35-39 yrs||40-49 yrs||50-59 yrs||60-69 yrs||70 +|
As you can see, across all ethnic groups, women between the age of 40-60 have the highest divorce rate. That’s exactly the age group of the Gen X women right now.
All this is to say that if the mass media and marketers forgot about us, we, the Gen Xers need to be our own advocates! We need to reach out and make our desires as well as needs known. We also need to expand what we do best as women: support one another! Ultimately, we want to be the best versions of ourselves for others.
In my opinion, the first step is to set boundaries and take time for self-care, and I see it from three angles. One is our health. More than ever before, we need to pay more attention to nurture our body. Some of us in this group are experiencing pre-menopausal or menopausal effects, coupling that with the daily demands, it can be draining. I used to be one who pride myself with not needing much sleep, but I have finally come to appreciate the importance of sleep. My body is now my temple, so I am also very conscious of what go into my body.
The second angle is spiritual growth, and it doesn’t have to be in a religious way. As human beings, we start to reflect on our lives as we enter the 40s-50s. This is a prime time to nurture our souls, to stop doing and start being. Our life goals may have shifted from when we first began our career, and it’s so critical to take the time to reflect and find clarity to our future.
The last angle is financial wellbeing. The financial demands are high, the pressure is undeniable, and the clock is ticking. The good news is that we still have a little bit of time before we are forced to face retirement. We’ve got what it takes to live beyond “getting by”. We are capable of doing so much more in the world, and sometimes, all it takes is to drop the shame, and speak up for what we need. Two key questions for your financial wellbeing: 1) Are you investing financially for your future? 2) Are you investing in yourself? If your answers are not a clear resounding YES, then it’s time to get to work.
Remember, we do have a voice!
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