Experian distributed an interesting infographic  about debt that was a little light on statistics (there’s more at their new site ) but interesting nonetheless. It compared the debt load on each of four generations, starting with the Greatest Generation and ending with Generation Y.
One interesting takeaway from the infographic is that debt is highest in the Baby Boomer (Age 47-65) and Generation X (30-46) generations, with $101,951 and $111,121 respectively. Greatest Generation (66+) and Generation Y (19-29) have much lower levels of debt, $38,043 and $34,765 respectively. Remember that this is a measure of total debt, to include all loans and lines of credit. The average debt is $78,030.
If I were to guess, I think it has to do with how the generations have felt about the future. Baby Boomers and Generation X lived in periods of relative prosperity, knowing that tomorrow will be as good or better than today (and today was pretty good). The Greatest Generation lived through several world wars and the Great Depression while Generation Y has suffered through the dot com bust and the Great Recession. When you aren’t as secure and sure about the future, you save more than you spend because you don’t know what will happen. (this is all, of course, a guess)
Does this match what you’d expect?