Introducing: Generation Grumpy

Middle-age usually signifies financial stabilization and higher overall satisfaction. However, Generation Grumpy, a subsection of Generation X, is best characterized by their dissatisfaction with their current financial standing. Simply put, Americans that are now 45 to 54-year-olds are unhappy with the amount of money they make at their jobs.

According to the General Social Survey, these middle-aged Americans were 12% less likely than other cohorts to state that they were financially satisfied, as well as 18% more likely to say that they were unhappy. Even back in the 1990s, this generation was more unhappy in their 20s compared to other cohorts in similar stages in life.

Middle-aged usually implies peak earning years in both men and women’s lives, as people have had time to establish themselves in a career and earn a bigger salary. Compared to their younger colleagues, those in Generation Grumpy do earn a bigger salary. However, the generation before Grumpy are in higher positions (and therefore higher salaries) in the workplace. Because the generation before Generation Grumpy hasn’t retired, they occupy positions that Generation Grumpy could earn a bigger salary in.

Subsequently, the makeup of America’s wealthiest 5% is mostly comprised of the current 55 to 64-year-olds: the generation before Generation Grumpy, also known as the Baby Boom Generation (born 1946-1964). With their accumulated life savings and relatively higher salaries, the Baby Boomers have proved to be an obstacle to Generation Grumpy’s promotions and higher salaries. In other words, the older get richer, while the younger are unable to climb up the salary ladder.

Caught between generations, Generation Grumpy will most likely remain until the rest of the Baby Boom Generation retires, or dies.
Sophia Kim