The economic climate of the past few years has been difficult on many consumers, but it seems not everyone is coming out of the recent recession on equal footing. Research conducted by the market research firm Mintel shows that 45–54-year-olds (younger Baby Boomers and older Gen X respondents) will definitely be taking longer to recover. For instance, 47% of that group (vs. 33% overall) say they “have only been spending money on necessities” for at least a year.
Furthermore, 51% of this age demographic, compared to 44% overall, state that they intend to permanently decrease the amount of unnecessary “stuff” they will buy in the future. This group is also greatly concerned about their retirement, with 39% saying they worry more about retirement now than they ever have.
“This last recession has definitely not treated everyone equally,” states Susan Menke, vice president and behavioral economist at Mintel. “One reason could be that the younger Boomers are the age group that was just getting started when the severe double dip recessions of the 1980s hit, and they have never fully recovered. Another reason may be that this is the ‘sandwich’ generation, burdened with educational expenses for their kids and, for some, healthcare costs for aging parents.”
There is some good news in the data, however. A full 44% of those aged 18–24 and 34% of those in the 35–44 age range say that they intend to permanently increase the amount of money they save (vs. 28% overall). More importantly, they are backing it up with actions—about 10% of 18–44-year-olds have actually increased the amount they are saving in their retirement accounts in the last year.
“We continue to see numbers indicating that the recession was a wake-up call across age groups, just in different ways,” states Susan Menke. “Everyone is more concerned about having adequate funds to retire after this recession. Unlike the Baby Boomers, however, younger age groups are able to do something about it, which offers a potential opportunity for financial services firms.”[Source: "Younger Boomers have been squeezed most by the recession." Mintel. 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2011.]