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Generations X, Y burdened by debt

By Crissinda Ponder ·
Friday, March 1, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

The nation's youngest adults, those in Generations X and Y, lead the nation for having the largest debt burden.

Americans younger than 47 have an average debt load of nearly $37,000 per person, according to the inaugural U.S. Consumer Savings and Debt Report by SaveUp, a financial rewards program for saving money and paying down debt.

Gen Xers have an average total of $46,972 in debt, compared to Gen Yers' debt total of $28,930. The variation in average debt can be attributed to the age differences between the two groups -- Gen Xers were born from 1965 to 1980 and Gen Yers have birth years between 1981 and 1995.

Nearly 50 percent of Generation Y's debt comes from nonasset-building loans -- including credit cards, car loans and lines of credit -- or "bad debt," while more than 60 percent of Generation X's debt is from mortgage and student loans, also referred to as "good debt."

"We wanted to share this (report) with the goal of inspiring other companies as well as financial services (and) policymakers to think about what kinds of things we need to do to support the financial success of Gen X and Gen Y," says Priya Haji, SaveUp CEO.

The report also finds that 32 percent of Gen Xers are investing and saving for retirement, but only 29 percent of Gen Yers are doing the same.

"Bringing that (bad) debt down first and getting rid of that higher-cost debt is going to be a really important goal that a lot of younger people are going to need to address," Haji says. "The other key thing is we're going to want to see savings patterns continue to increase."

Do these findings surprise you? What steps are you taking to reduce your debt load? Tell us below.

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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Larisa Muckle
September 24, 2013 at 9:52 am

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Justin Duckwitz
April 08, 2013 at 5:40 am

I would like to address this comment by looking at today's wages vs cost of living. I am 28 married two kids and have had a 30 dollar an hour job most of my life. House, Car, and Insurance are big ticket items that has us in debt. But my peers not at this stage are burdened with student loans, credit cards, and other survival income on there way to carreer's. My generation pays more for furniture, groceries, clothes, pretty much everything without a signifigant income increase vs what our parents made in the late 80's-90's. Yes minimum wage has increased but so has gas to the tune of 4 times the amount it was in 2000. I would like to point out that people need basic communication tools our parents didn't have to burden cell phones and internet access. Then the content of these items have continued to cost. The point is my generation is set up to fail. The country has had unsustainable growth in sectors that will not continue to thrive as company's have shed infrastructure that was paramount to the success of the 80's, 90's and early 2000's. You can live within your means if your lucky but short of earning close to six figures between both couples your going to be struggling without some sort of finacial aid. Childcare runs over 500 per kid until school age. My generation is not going to be able to sustain your companies in the black every quarter forever. Please companies help invest in my childrens future by investing now and stop trying to please stock holders and lets try to please a nation of hard working intellegent workforce. Yes it cost more money here but sometimes you don't have to make millions of dollars to be a successful company. Pay it forward.

Crissinda Ponder
March 04, 2013 at 9:20 am

Hi there,
The error in that paragraph has been fixed and yes, the second percentage refers to Generation X. Thank you!

sure thing
March 03, 2013 at 9:46 pm

The third paragraph has numbers that do not add up. For GenY, nearly 50% + 60% is greater than 100%. Was GenX supposed to be identified in there?