February 26th, 2024

Gen X Horizon Scan Highlights

Discover some of the highlights of our Gen X Horizon Scan.

This month, the Good Futures team launched the Gen X Horizon Scan report. This blog is a taster of some of the headlines. Let’s dive in!

Roughly defined as anyone born between 1965 and 1980, Gen X has been dubbed the “Forgotten Generation,” for being left out of most generational conversations. Shockingly, they make up 31% of the global population, but only account for 4% of industry research into different generations. And yet, this generation has quietly become the holders of the UK’s spending power and make up the majority of global C-suites

So why don’t we talk about them? Essentially, Gen X is the generational Middle Child, sandwiched between the larger cohorts of Boomers and Millennials. They’ve also been described as a ‘Latchkey Generation’ - the first generation of kids growing up with higher divorce rates and more two-income households. They had less adult presence in their childhood and teenage years, making them an independent cohort. On top of that, they were born into the end of the Cold War, lived through nuclear uncertainty, the AIDS epidemic, dotcom boom and crash, the onset of the 24-hour news cycle and multiple global financial crises - leading to them developing a healthy dose of scepticism for the world around them. Ultimately, many Gen X’s are just happy to stay out of the conversation

With all this in mind, let’s dive into some of the headlines from the Gen X report. 

Retirement Outlooks

We think of Millennials as the first generation that could face a lack of retirement - but Gen X could be facing this issue sooner than expected. New research shows that the UK state pension age will need to rise to 71 for those born after April 1970. But moreover, as of 2023, more than half of Gen X fear that they’ll never be able to retire entirely - and they’re not wrong. Just under 1 in 3 of them are at risk of being financially vulnerable in retirement.

These struggles are mostly a product of being born in the gap between final salary pensions and automatic pension savings. Almost half of Gen X report gaps of at least ten years in their pension contributions. 

So What: This generation is struggling to build up their retirement pots. Help this generation prepare their finances sooner rather than later. And with an ageing workforce on the horizon, your employees will have different needs and preferences. From sixty year old interns to grandparental leave -  rethink your hiring practices, benefit offer, and employment model, with a focus on flexibility. 


With Gen X are forecast to make up 40% of all deaths by 2050, estate-planning will become a bigger priority for them in the coming years. Currently, they’re delaying legacy pledges due to economic pressures from the cost of living crisis. They’re less likely to have written a will than Boomers were at the same age, with only 29% having done so now, compared to 42% of the same age group in 2013. 

This doesn’t mean that Gen X won’t be a big source of legacy pledges in the future though - 44% of them (and Millennials) are planning on leaving a gift in their will. Yet only 30% of Gen X say that they’ve seen a legacy ad before, or received information on will-gifting.

So What: This generation will be planning their estates sooner than you think. They’re looking for clear and transparent information about will-writing and legacies now, even if they’re not ready to leave a gift yet. But beware, many of them may never own bricks and mortar. Future-proof your legacy fundraising strategy by moving your language away from hard offline assets. 

Destigmatising Menopause

We don’t talk about menopause enough. One 2023 study of post-menopausal women found that almost none of them had learned about menopause in school, and about half of them “did not feel informed at all” about the life stage. We’re lacking in official guidance, workplace support, medication, research, and open conversation. 

But there is positive news on the horizon: menopause is gaining increasing attention in the medical and scientific spheres. We’re seeing new medication, menopause benefits at work, cooling technology, and more. But meaningful change will only occur when the core issues change: how research is conducted and disseminated, how doctors are trained, and how seriously practitioners take women’s pain. 

So What: The menopause support sector may be growing, but significant changes won’t happen until we open up the conversation and destigmatise the topic. Raise awareness, both of menopause itself and of the resources and guidance available, to support people through this transition. 

Don’t Forget Social

92% of Gen X use social media on a daily basis. Its primary uses? Finding and maintaining social connection and acting as a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Here, Gen X feels overlooked by brands and the advertising industry, more so than anywhere else. Despite the fact that they make up 28% of TikTok users and make up the fastest-growing demographic on the platform, only 5% of brand spend on influencer campaigns on the platform is targeted at Gen X.

Engage Gen X on social media by tapping into their specific needs and preferences. Tap into their online communities by being authentic, and tap into nostalgia. Moreover, reflect the Gen X experience in your marketing. 

So What: Don’t fall prey to stereotypes - Gen X spends just as much time online as anyone else. It’s not just legacy platforms like Facebook, they’re building niches on TikTok as well. Meet Gen X here by tapping into community and nostalgia, as well as using Gen X influencers and voices. 

The long and short of it is: don’t forget about Gen X. Simply put, we’re missing the data we need to support and engage them. Invest time and resources into understanding this generational middle child - they’re not just young Boomers or old Millennials, they have their own unique identity and challenges. 

These headlines are only a glimpse of what’s covered in the full report, which also dives into: cost of living impact, double-caring responsibilities, Gen X at work, gerontolescence, attitudes to sustainability, men’s health, volunteering, and why trust is the key to unlocking Gen X support.

If you want to get your hands on the full version, please contact Daisy to find out more about subscribing to Good Futures, our trends and foresight service.