Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Planning with not for Boomers

Planning with Boomers for retirement is an empty phrase that many financial planners use when they actually mean “Planning for Boomers for retirement.” To help Boomers plan for retirement, the focus of the planners should be holistic and not just on financial planning. Having enough money in retirement is important. However, we also need to plan for non-financial issues. 

For life planning to be meaningful and valuable, we need to help the person planning their life after retirement to be:
  • Motivated to make wise choices
  • Educated about their life choices
  • Prepared to live purposefully
  • Prepared to meet challenges and opportunities
  • Flexible
  • Able to make informed decisions and take action to improve total well being
  • Self-aware
  • Personally fulfilled
  • Prepared to use and replenish resources
  • Able to give back to the community
 Life planning is the process of:
  1. Helping people focus on the true values and motivations in their lives
  2. Determining the goals and objectives they have as they see their lives develop
  3. Using these values, motivations, goals, and objectives to guide the planning process, which will help, provide a framework for making choices and decisions in life that have consequences.
Here are some interesting facts/ideas about Boomers that may help if you are doing some life planning. Check to see where you fit into the generalizations below.

We are more financially well informed, yet more burdened with debt (both credit card debt and big mortgages) than our parents. We also have far more complex financial choices in our lives. We are living with having to be much more self-reliant for financial security in retirement than our parents and with expecting significant inheritances from those parents and the implications of “sudden money.” Our status as the “sandwich generation” may require us to assist aging parents financially at the same time we are putting children through college.

Because of the corporate downsizing phenomenon in the 80’s and early 90’s, we have come to distrust company “stability” and have much less corporate loyalty than the previous generation. Our sheer numbers have resulted in many of us bumping up against the reality that we will not always rise to the top in our career. Many are creating second careers or have become self-employed. Consulting or self-employment may lead to isolation and some disconnect from the rest of the working world. We are still looking for “meaning” in our work. We expect, and often desire, to work far beyond “traditional” retirement age.

Because of the demands of work and parenting, we think of leisure as a foreign concept and often experience it only as short bursts of immediate gratification, such as a luxury trip to Europe. Time pressures lead to a lack of ritual or routine for leisure.   

Physical Health
As parents’ age and die, we are beginning to confront our own mortality and are taking steps to maintain physical health. The stress associated with mid-life career transitions or disappointments, high debt loads, and other financial obligations, is influencing our health.       

Mental Health
As a generation, we are coming to grips with mortality, struggling with both discouragement about whether this is all there is and empowerment that the best is yet to be created. Stress is high, resulting from career pressures, aging parents, and the financial obligations of raising children. We are dealing with a creeping sense of fatalism as we hit mid-life and mid-career.

We are often losing parents and spouses, due to death or divorce. Blended or stepfamilies are common. Single status is not necessarily a stigma, but presents unique financial planning challenges. Members of our group are trying to come to grips with what are  our obligations to parents and children.

Family Matters
Heavily influenced by their diverse, and changing, relationships,  we are struggling with “sandwich generation” issues. Many have young children at a much later age than did their parents. Education is a priority,  but having children later has made funding college education a financial drain in later life.

Home Life
WE place a high priority on home life but feel its quality is often compromised by competing demands on time.

Housing isn’t the comfort to this generation that it has been to the Silent Generation. Mortgages are high and will likely be carried into later life. Those of us who own second homes are under increased financial pressure. Many of us may desire to relocate or downsize housing as our children go to and through college. Conversely, some may actually upsize, to accommodate a live- in aging parent.

Personal Growth
We are still trying to figure out “what it all means.” Because things have not always worked out as we envisioned in our earlier, idealistic days, We, as a group, are becoming very introspective about our lives. We are beginning to think about a moral or values-based “legacy” and want signs that our lives have personal significance.

Problems and Surprises
My generation believed we were entitled to a better world and have paid for it. We paid for it but not with our own money. Those of us who did not get their debt under control are now reaping the results of our spending habits. Divorce, unemployment, mid- life health problems, and the death of family members are frequent “problems.” Unexpected financial windfalls and an incredibly strong investing environment in the 1990’s have been pleasant surprises. Unexpected Recessions like in  2008 was an unpleasant surprise and the flattening of the stock market in the past few years is forcing many to reconsider retirement.

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