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Gen X and retirement

This page was originally published December 2009.

If you're sandwiched in between the Baby Boomers and their kids, there are a few hard realizations about your economic life: You likely don't make as much money as your father when he was your age.

And it's tough to establish yourself in a career when jobs have been disappearing.

And Social Security? Don't even think about it because, as many of you believe, it's not thinking about you.

It's not just all in your imagination. There really isn't much of a safety net out there.

Part 1: Vexed Generation X, going for broke
You are somewhere between 35 and 45 years old, give or take, and you can't shake the feeling that things just aren't adding up for you, your family, your generation. Well, to all 45 million of you sandwiched between the 80 million Boomers and their 88 million kids, I say this: You are not hallucinating. You are in trouble. Read the column, by Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis.

Part 2: Xers' burden: Housing debt
Welcome to Act II of Generation Hexed. Today's scene — "Debt, Stagnant Wages, and You: Perfect Together" — begins with a dramatic reading from an April 2003 report by the United States General Accounting Office: "The younger generations, especially Generation X, have higher levels of debt than current retirees did at similar ages," said the GAO analysis of wealth and future income. Read the column, by Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis.

Part 3: Xer retirement? Dream on
Today, in Part III, we watch the group's retirement dreams get sucked into Darth Vader's Death Star. Here's what we know: Folks in their 30s and early 40s are in deep hock and are making less than Dear Old Dad. But Generation Hexed is also being stiffed on pensions — and may have to pay higher taxes for underfunded Social Security as Baby Boomers ahead enter retirement. Read the column by Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis.

Part 4: Happy ending for 'GenHexed'?
At long last: the happy ending for Generation Hexed. Bottom line: If you're in your 30s or early 40s, you've got problems. Money problems, pension problems, housing problems — a trifecta of trouble. In some ways, you're worse off than dad. (But, we hope, you've got lots of love.) How to solve this jam? Read the column by Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis.

The crash's hidden losers

Will someone please tell me how this happened?

I'm talking about how middle-class life, and its promise of generational upward mobility, is unraveling before today's younger workers have had the chance to collect even a fraction of their due. Read the column, by Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis.

Economic mobility
A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Brookings Institution - Economic Mobility: Is the American Dream Alive and Well - looks at the idea of the American Dream - and concludes that it is not alive and well. Read the report

Comparing the generations
A 2003 Government Accounting Office report looks at the wealth and retirement needs of Current Retirees, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, and suggests that Xers have more debt and fewer prospects of having the money they need for retirement. Read the report