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Generation X is the New Sandwich Generation

Like generations before, GenX is family focused but is also the new sandwich generation
By way of introduction, I am both AARP's Vice President of Home and Family and among the first members of Generation X.  My role at AARP involves working with all of my co-workers to make sure that we know what issues are important to the fifty plus around home and family and working to address those issues through the things we do.  This involves five related topics:


We know those are important issues for Boomers and everyone else over the age of 50.  The first members of Generation X turn 50 in under two years, but, for us Gen Xers the issues I mention above are already relevant and critical.

If you're a data person, the study released by Pew this week (see this blog post by Amy Goyer) is an eye opening look at family and who the sandwich generation is today (responsible for kids/adult kids and helping with parents older than 65).    In 2012, 42% of Generation X had a financially dependent child along with a parent over 65.  This was - for the first time - higher than Boomers with 33% falling into the Sandwich category.  Another data point to consider - the average age of a first time grandparent in this country is 48 - which in 2013 makes that average person a Gen Xer.

Working at AARP, I often have older family and friends thank me for working on their behalf.  This is great validation, but inside I do feel a bit self-serving, too.  The issues we work on are also critical for me and my fellow Gen Xers - even if we don't talk about them.  From a personal perspective, my wife and I have two older teen sons (very financially dependent). Our parents are older than 65 and still very active - but every now and then they do need some help.  We are starting to think about how accommodating our house and community will be in the future.  We've seen technology change the way we connect with each other and the world.  And, we are very dependent upon our cars. 

The plan for my blogging is to highlight the things we work on in the Home and Family area - things that apply to people of all ages and are personal for me.  We have some great people already blogging on many of these topics, so the goal is not to just add another post on the same topics.  I will try to bring fresh topics and also insights for my Gen X peers.  As a generation, we don't talk much about ourselves.  This lack of discussion may be because we do not have a catchy generation name like Boomers or Millennials (Thank you Douglas Coupland) or we get overlooked, sandwiched between these larger generations (During my trip to the Consumer Electronic Show last month , I attended a session where panelists openly talked about not knowing what the post-Boomer generation is called).  But, we're here and we are the new sandwich generation - like those generations before us focused on our families.

[Photo Courtesy of anyjazz65/Flickr]

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