Generation X is viewing high debt as a way of life, reports Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America in a new study.

The insurers said one of the reasons is the group has relied on debt at an early age. According to Allianz, 76 percent of Gen Xers started buying with credit cards between the ages of 18 and 24 versus 68 percent of baby boomers.

Gen Xers are also temporarily enjoying a heightened standard of living longer than boomers are, as 46 percent pay only a portion of their credit card balances each month compared to 32 percent of boomers.

More than a third (36 percent) of Gen Xers told Allianz Life that they currently have more than $5,000 in credit card debt and a quarter admitted to more than $10,000.

Half of Gen Xers said they’re aiming to “enjoy and live for today” versus only 39 percent of boomers.

“Over the last three decades, there has been a collective shift in how people view debt -- it’s now perceived as a normal part of one’s financial experience and that has fundamentally altered the way people spend and save,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights.

Allianz says the live-for-today mentality of many Gen Xers will hurt them in retirement, not only because they are not saving much now but they are missing the extra dollars compound interest on savings brings in.

The poll was done of 1,000 Gen Xers (ages 35 to 48) and 1,000 boomers (ages 49 to 67) with household incomes of $30,000 and above in November.