The recent Federal Reserve Report On Wealth has generated considerable controversy and discussion throughout America and beyond. But one aspect that is not getting enough attention is the generational differences highlighted in the report.
Generation X – people roughly born from the early 60s to early 80s – is by far the biggest loser in terms of wealth. The crisis created by Wall Street shredded their wealth and the bank bailouts only benefited the rich. Gen Xers were in the position of having some modest wealth – mostly in their homes – but not enough to buy political influence.
So while it is arguable to say Gen Xers are the biggest losers generally, given the many others suffering who did not have much wealth in the first place (millennials for instance) it is true to say that as an age group they lost the most wealth proportionally.
Gen X had a 54% Drop! Imagine losing over half your wealth in 3 years, many don’t have to imagine they lived it. Seniors lost the least, which is not surprising given their reliance on government services and that many liquidated their homes for retirement. Younger people did not have much wealth accumulated in order to lose it. The people that really got screwed were middle aged, middle income Americans.
Though it is important to remember everyone but the 1% lost wealth in the crisis – the 1% were able to engineer themselves a bailout from the government they control so their wealth actually increased in those 3 years.