Gen X Consumers Hold More Debt than Other Generations

Dec 21, 2023Financial Literacy, News

A recent research collaboration by PYMNTS Intelligence and Sezzle entitled “The Credit Accessibility Series: Economic Malaise Exacerbating U.S. Consumer Debt Levels” found that Generation X (ages 41-56) has more debt than any other generation. On average, a Gen X consumer must work almost four years to pay off outstanding debts, compared to 3.3 years for millennials and two years for Gen Z. 

Gen X is the most indebted generation, as most Gen X consumers have a home mortgage, own a car they make payments on, and have had multiple credit cards for several years. They are relatively financially stable and many have high income levels, which makes them an attractive group for certain credit products. 

Although Gen X holds the highest levels of debt, PYMNTS research shows that they do not need to use bank overdrafts as frequently as other age groups. If consumers in this age cohort do experience bank overdrafts and funds are not available, credit cards are the most utilized product.

In the last year, only 15 percent of Gen X consumers tried a transaction with insufficient funds, the second lowest among all age groups, right behind baby boomers. The housing situation of most Gen X consumers shows similar findings. This generation holds the largest share of mortgages at 45 percent, compared to 32 percent of millennials.

43 percent of Gen X consumers with low credit scores have experienced hardships or could not afford bills because of their lack of credit. This could be because of accumulated personal loans, or because Gen X consumers predominantly have bigger mortgages than other age groups.

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