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Credit to their generations

How 'Greatest' generation, boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials view credit

By Geoff Williams

How age sets attitudes toward credit, debt
The Greatest Generation, Silent Generation
Greatest, Silent generations (1911-1945)
Baby boomers
Baby boomers (1946-1964)
Generation X
Generation X (1965-1979)
Millennials (1980-2000)

Age does more than bestow wisdom and wrinkles. It creates attitudes and behaviors, too.

Time colors each generation's lens with events its members have in common and others don't, whether those events are sweeping as a world war or mundane as a TV catchphrase.

So it's not surprising that as a general rule, different generations hold different views about debt and credit. Someone always surrounded by ATMs and PayPal is going to use plastic differently than someone who can remember The Dust Bowl and gas ration cards.

We'll look at the debt and credit attitudes of four age groups: The Greatest (and Silent) generations (born 1911-1945); baby boomers (1946-1964); Generation X (1965-1979) and Millennials (1980-2000). To be sure, what follows are generational generalizations. Exceptions abound. But experts and statistics both point to generational traits that many have in common.

Let's see how the generations differ when it comes to handling credit cards and debt.

Next: The Greatest Generation (1911-1924) and the Silent Generation (1925-1945).

Published: March 19, 2008

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