Each of you has different needs, goals, and concerns when it comes to your life, and especially your financial life. Plus, the differences between the various generations are more pronounced now than ever before. And when you were born – which generation you fall into – has a lot to do with it. It’s simply different life stages and what your experiences were growing up. So let’s take a look at how those differences come into play with the various generations.
For the Baby Boomer generation, born 1946 – 1964, more has been made of this population phenomenon than any previous generation. The “pig in a python” metaphor has been very descriptive. 10,000 boomers reach retirement age every day. You were never told you were “special” in a positive way. Your parents were OK if you were seen, but not heard. You feel you will be forever young. You are competitive. You like to be part of a “team”, especially a winning team. Most of your life experiences have been positive. It was a great time to grow up in this country.
For those born before 1946, this Mature generation has more similarities than differences to the Boomer generation, so let’s include them here with the Baby Boomers, just an older segment.
For Generation X, born 1965 – 1979, you are a suspicious and somewhat cynical group. Perhaps even unhappy. You often make difficult clients. You “stalk” decisions, wanting a laundry list of details before you will make a choice. You want a back-up plan. You will have done a lot of research before meeting with us for the first time. But this up-front analysis makes you a loyal client when you decide to work with someone.
For the Millennials, born 1980 – 1995, achieving a work/life balance is more important than for any other generation. You are the biggest generation in the history of this nation. Time is a valuable currency for you. Your work isn’t your life, and you’re very comfortable stating that point to your employer. You probably have never had to get up and cross the room to change the TV channel or get out of the car to open the garage door.
So it’s important to recognize and understand the differences, and celebrate those differences. Quality financial and investment planning certainly has themes that run through all generations, but how those come into play for each generation matters. It matters a lot. The issues and needs are different. Let’s examine some of the differences.
For the Baby Boomers, your biggest financial issue is retirement and how to afford it. Most everything else pales in comparison. How do you define retirement? How the heck does Social Security and Medicare really work? Are there some critical strategies that will benefit me? How long will you live? How good or bad will your health be, and at what cost? Are you taking care of you aging parents? The “sandwich generation”. Are your kids still at home as they seek to make their own way? Seems like more questions than answers, but understanding your options will matter. We can be the quarterback of the team to help deal with all of this. We’ve been at this for over thirty years.
For Generation X, you are a mix between the Boomers and the Millennials. And a lot of planning depends on at what age your parents had you and at what age you had kids. As the oldest of this generation turns 50, retirement issues loom large. Taking full advantage of your 401(k) is key. Have you put enough away so far? Caring for elderly parents and/or having to support adult children are concerns. Another “sandwich generation”? Would you like to work at a less stressful and more rewarding job? How about travel and physical fitness? All of this is potentially doable with the proper planning.
For the Millennials it’s totally different. It’s student loan debt, bill paying, budgeting, employee benefits, renting vs. buying. All of this is different, but it’s also similar. The other generations have been through it too. But not exactly in the same way. You want to know what’s in it for you, and what your future holds. You have the distinct advantage of being young. It’s never too early to start, and having a sound foundation of a life plan and financial plan should make it all the more fulfilling.
Again, understand and celebrate the differences. And provide sound advice delivered in a manner that works best for each group. That’s our goal. We hope it’s yours also.