A Future Shaped By Generational Differences

Overall, in 2021, Gen X (anyone born from 1965 to 1980) spent the most money of any U.S. generation, with an average annual expenditure of $83,357

Preethi Lodha – How Americans Spend Their Money, By Generation

As we focus our gaze on the horizon, history tells us that generational transitions to new stages of life play a role in shaping the future. As we traverse the seasons of life, how we think influences where society goes. In the book The Fourth Turning, the seasons of life are described in detail:

  • Childhood (ages 0-20)
  • Young adulthood (ages 21-41)
  • Midlife (ages 42-62)
  • Elderhood (ages 63-83)

However, many factors have converged to change the traditional life cycle from 4 segments to five.

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The Changing Human Life Cycle

Given the recent focus on demographics, I went back to review a book in my library titled “The Great Demographic Reversal.” In a post that reviewed the book, I mentioned that the authors state several times that their findings are controversial and counter to the views of mainstream economists. By way of review, the authors concluded that the future is one of:

  • Inflation
  • A fall in working age population
  • An aging society that struggles with the ravages of dementia
  • Declining growth of real output
  • An increase in labor’s bargaining power
  • Possible interest rate increases
  • Increased health expenses
  • A reduction in inequality

Several of those projected characteristics of a possible future are currently in play. Whether these are transitory or the new normal suggested by the authors remains to be seen. We have the benefit of history in looking at the various forces that shaped the current global economy.

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