I have a Gen X client who was brought to his knees by financial hardship, which he had concealed from his wife, until he had to confess that they were bankrupt. I've seen both of those families flourish since getting clobbered by an overwhelming life largely of their own making.
You don't have to get to the end of your rope to choose a clean slate. It's also not easy to extricate yourself from the web of commitments and expectations by which so many Gen Xers feel bound. But it's worth it, and I know this from personal experience.
Read MoreGen Y women financially savvy
Within the past couple of years, my family had experienced enough hardship and stress that we felt compelled to introduce some change. Meaningful change.
I came home from work one day with a lesson, emblazoned on my consciousness, from a client meeting with a member of the baby boomer generation. He told me, "With your kids already at ages 7 and 9, you're going to blink and they'll be out on their own."