Surviving on Credit Cards? Say It Ain’t So
Instead of leaning on low-interest loans or driving down debt entirely, Generation X and Baby Boomers appear far too dependent on credit cards as financial lifelines. That reality could undermine the IT service providers they’re trying to build and manage.
Indeed, nearly half of GenX (Ages 35-48) and Baby Boomers (49-67) concede that credit cards are a financial survival tool, according to Katie Libbe, VP of Consumer Insights at Allianz Life. Even worse, there seems to be a feeling of financial despair in the survey results. More than 40 percent agree that “lots of smart, hardworking people who are careful with spending also have a lot of credit card debt.”
Among the other survey findings:
- 36% of Gen Xers have more than $5,000 in credit card debt;
- a quarter admitted to carrying more than $10,000;
- 15% of Gen Xers said they also owe money to their parents;
- 41% of Gen Xers say they are not comfortable with the amount of debt they have; and
- 25% of Boomers feel uneasy with their debt.
Perceptions about money apparently plays a key role in those debt loads. When asked which financial philosophy they preferred, half of Gen Xers said “enjoy and live for today” versus only 39% of Boomers, with the majority of Boomers (61%) choosing “save and plan for tomorrow,” Allianz Life said.
The Bigger Challenge
Amid those financial realities and debt loads, IT entrepreneurs across the GenX and Boomer generations could face difficult balancing acts. In fact, Allianz Life points to an overall retirement crisis for GenX and Baby Boomers.
The challenges are particularly acute in the IT channel. For instance, many IT service provider owners are counting on company sales to fund their retirements — even though the value of their businesses may not be as lofty as expected, HTG Peer Group CEO Arlin Sorensen has pointed out.
At the same time, retirement plans within many small IT service provider companies tend to be limited or nonexistent — though the overall trend toward retirement saving seems to be improving.
Bottom line: A “spend today, worry about it tomorrow” attitude can zap your cash flow at home, and leave you without any financial leverage at work…