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Op-Ed: Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers can avoid holiday debt

What do Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have in common? Not much, except that they all rack up debt this time of year. With each generation having its unique financial issues, Consolidated Credit is offering specific advice.

Consolidated Credit analyzed four years of debt management program data and found that Millennial enrollments are at an all-time high and have an average of $13,000 of debt on their program. Although Gen X has the highest average debt load put on a program, Millennials surpass Baby Boomers as the second most enrolled generation.

With consumer credit card debt almost $1.5 trillion, Millennials are facing pressure to pamper their children while paying off student loans. Baby Boomers, who are in or headed towards retirement, make up 35% of their clients and have more than $15,500 of debt on their program. Leading the pack are the current “sandwich generation.” 

Gen Xers enroll in the debt management program at the highest rate and have the highest debt load at more than $16,000.

“It was said that Millennials aren’t using credit cards at the same pace as past generations, but they now make up a third of our clients base,” said April Parks-Lewis, Consolidated Credit’s education director.

“Now that Millennials have grown up and are starting families, they’re facing credit card debt in addition to high student loan debt,” she said.

The holidays are the worst time for family budgets – but possibly the best time to create peace across generational lines. All members of the family can lend a hand in saving by tackling spending.

Holiday tips for the ages:

  • Millennials should give the gift of financial literacy. Steward the next generation by helping your kids understand the value of money and help them curb expectations this holiday.
  • Gen Xers, who do most of their holiday shopping online, need to comparison shop and consider giving gifts of “experiences” – like group travel, cooking classes and other activities where family and friends can be together.
  • Baby Boomers should use tech to help them manage their finances. They need to use money-saving apps like camel-camel-camel, RetailMeNot, and interactive holiday budget planners.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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