Dragline said: An older Gen-X household will be either "Dollar Store or Restoration Hardware." This is quite true. Gen-X has huge winners and losers and relatively few in the middle. The anger and bitterness on the lower end is palpable.
I wonder. The above struck me because the last time I heard the words "Restoration Hardware", they were coming out of the mouth of my somewhat older, much, much, more financially affluent lover as he was describing some aspect of the major home renovation he is supervising as he was lying next to me on my $12 homemade futon-lol.
It seems to me that people generally feel bitter anger or resentment in situations where results or reality does not meet or match their expectations, often due to semi-conscious engagement in covert contract. I have an odd perspective on generational differences and aging because I am demographically out of sync in a way that makes me simultaneously younger and older than most of my peers. This is because I became a "household" when I was 22 and I stopped being a "household" when I was 48 (because my DD24 became financially independent.) My 61 year old lover is still very much a "household." In addition to shopping for stuff at Restoration Hardware, his time is filled with tasks such as "putting together furniture for his mother-in-law who just moved out of his house into an assisted living facility" and "going to court to because 21 year old stepson got busted for DUI" and "helping 30-something daughter buy a new used car" in addition to full-time job, commute, helping run a non-profit, trying to hit the gym. OTOH, my other lover who is 51 (same age as me) hasn't ever even been a "household" yet. Never married, just bought his first home around 5 years ago, and he still wants to have kids. Another different example of a "household" would be Mr. and Mrs. Ego who have been married for a long time but no kids. Or my 41 year old sister who is a very successful Gen-Xer by some standards, and lives with her 48 year old boyfriend and his 16 year old daughter from previous relationship in a very small apartment in a very, very expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn, but they wouldn't be a "household" for tax purposes because they are not legally married.
I suppose the points I am attempting to make are that "household" has always been a fairly dubious economic construct and it is becoming more and more so, the freedom/ability to shop at "Restoration Hardware" vs. "Dollar Store" is a rather limited, rather linear degree or scope of freedom, and the perspective of most Gen-X right now on what their future may hold is likely very different than the perspective they will have once they experience the major life events of "death of parents" and "empty nest." I am such an old youngster, I can even speak from my experience and relate that the day you send your last kid off to college is not really empty nest. Empty nest is when you sent your last kid off to college over 7 years ago, so you have grown a whole new skin since that day, and you realize you are still likely going to live another 35 years. Although overall divorce rates have dropped in recent years, there are currently record-high rates of 60-something year old boomers choosing to end very long-term marriages because they suddenly realized that they weren't going to die yet, or even very soon.