Whether sitting at the doctor’s office, ordering dinner, or simply watching television, there are constant reminders about how we grew up and how we like to do things. For example, how do you get to the doctor – perhaps you walk, drive or Uber? Do you prefer to eat in the restaurant, pick up curbside, or order through an app? Do you watch television from your couch, flipping through channels with the remote, or stream through your phone or tablet? We all likely do a combination of these activities, but our generational differences play an impact on our actions, how we identify in society, and even our estate planning.
A generation is usually a group of people born around a specified time period and raised around the same place. Individuals in a particular cohort exhibit similar preferences, characteristics and values over the course of their lifetime. Depending on the source, the end of one generation may overlap into another, as the periods are defined by societal connections and influences of people. The U.S. Census Bureau appears to use census data, and the rise and fall of the birth rate to mark borders between generations. Other researchers, such as Pew, use major cultural events to define the groupings. The Baby Boomers period is consistent, but most other generations will fluctuate. The generational names are a fairly recent cultural phenomenon, and the following are a list according to The Center for Generational Kinetics:
- 1945 and before: Traditionalists or Silent Generation – includes some that fought in World War II, most that fought in the Korean War, and many during the Vietnam War;
- 1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers – also known as Generation W or the Me Generation, includes those born mostly following World War II, as increased birth rates were observed post-war, and this baby boom made them a large demographic cohort;
- 1965 to 1976: Generation X – depending on the source, Gen X may continue into the early 1980’s;
- 1977 to 1995: Millennials or Gen Y – According to Pew Research, the Millennials will surpass the Baby Boomers in numbers in the U.S. in 2019, with an anticipated 72 million Boomers and 73 million Millennials
- 1996 to present: Gen Z, iGen or Centennials – researchers typically use the mid-1990s to early-2000s as starting birth years.
Regardless of your generation, the need to plan for your loved ones is the same. How you do that may vary based on age. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can discuss the different approaches that fits your family.