Generation(s) Dissatisfied

The Baby Boomers are the only group who like their name.

That was the discovery of a recent survey by Charles Schwab, which analyzed how the many different age groups view retirement (see Four Generations Agree: We Need More Advice). The survey also revealed the negative and positive opinions generations have of each other. The generation lineup is:

  • Generation Y (ages 13 to 31)
  • Generation X (ages 32 to 43)
  • Baby Boomers (ages 44 to 62)
  • The Silent Generation (ages 63 to 83)
  • The Greatest Generation (ages 84 or older)

Why is it that Baby Boomers get all the good stuff anyway? Some in Generation X could nix their one-letter name, and some in Generation Y wonder why they were stuck with such a generic name next in the alphabet. Among Gen Y, 33% would prefer their digital prowess be recognized as the “Internet Generation,’ and a quarter of Gen X would prefer to be “Generation Tech.’ (It sounds like the two will have to battle it out.) The Silent Generation spoke up on how much they dislike being called “Silent’ or “Invisible.’ Almost half (44%) would prefer the “Responsible Generation.’

Better with Age?

The view that younger people have no respect for older people does not hold up in this survey, according to a release of the results. In fact, the Silent (33%) and the Greatest (30%) generations are the most admired by all age groups. The survey analysis notes that this makes sense, as these are our parents and grandparents. And—as of yet—they are often benefactors rather than burdens (the Silent Generation was deemed the most generous by 40% of respondents).

It should be noted that the survey results do not necessarily tell us whether we see people as getting better with age, or if we simply admire certain generations.

Generation Y is most renowned for being the most self-indulgent. A 53% majority (including those in Generation Y) responded this way. (What do you mean? Telling everything about oneself on a Facebook/MySpace/blog is self-indulgent?) Those slightly older than Generation Y still beat them out in the creativity department. A 41% plurality sees Generation X as the most innovative, followed by Baby Boomers (25%), and Generation Y (22%), according to the results.

Baby Boomers and Generation X—the two generations running our offices—are not only seen as creative, but also productive, with Baby Boomers seen as the most productive by almost half (45%) and Generation X by 32%.

The results showed no clear-cut taker for having the most positive effect on society, but Baby Boomers received the most votes (35%) followed by Generation X (25%). There is also no consensus as to which generation is most socially conscious, but Baby Boomers (34%) and Generation X (26%) top the list.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, asked almost 4,000 Americans aged 21 to 83 what they thought of different generations.

More information about the study is available at or here.

See also: Y Not?, GenXs Put Retirement at End of Financial Priorities, Gens X and Y Eyeing Retirement Savings Needs, Boomers Not Following in Parents’ Footsteps